2010年12月27日 星期一

沒魚蝦也好: Edible iPhone treats selling like hot cakes

Edible iPhone treats selling like hot cakes



photoApple Inc.'s iPhone 3GS, left, and an iPhone cookie sold at bakery Green Gables (Asako Hanafusa)photoKumiko Kudo making cookies (Asako Hanafusa)

TOKUSHIMA--Hand-made chocolate cookies in the shape of the iPhone have become the latest must-have accessory for the tech-savvy gourmet.

The biscuits, which are about 12 centimeters long and 6 cm wide, are made by Kumiko Kudo, the 44-year-old owner of bakery Green Gables in Aizumi town, Tokushima Prefecture, replicating Apple Inc.'s iconic device on a chocolate base, with icons nicely drawn in red, green and blue icing.

Kudo said the idea for the biscuits came from one of her customers, who asked her to make a look-a-like of the iPod touch media player for her husband's birthday gift in October 2008.

Kudo mistook the gadget for the very similar iPhone, which had just appeared on the market, but the customer was delighted by the end product.

News of Kudo's creation did not spread widely until a message on the Internet micro-blogging site Twitter in January by the well-known economic critic Kazuyo Katsuma.

A few days before a 42-year-old female company worker in Tokyo had seen the iPhone cookie on the blog of Kudo's bakery and had ordered two to give to Katsuma and singer Komi Hirose, who coauthored a book on Twitter.

Katsuma immediately posted a message on Twitter heralding the "amazing iPhone cookie." Hirose also posted a message about the "edible iPhone."

Their many followers read the messages and news of the cookie spread quickly. Orders began to pour in.

When Kudo was invited to an event held by Softbank Corp. in March, she handed President Masayoshi Son one of biscuits, who had earlier posted his own Twitter message saying: "I want one!" Son was overjoyed: "I'm so happy. I cannot possibly eat this," he said.

Kudo, who makes all her own cakes and biscuits, says she can create no more than 20 iPhone cookies a day. One biscuit is priced at 2,730 yen ($33), including tax.

Kudo has received requests for iPad cookies. She said she has experimented, but "it turned out to be too big, heavy and difficult to make."

2010年12月26日 星期日

Japan's Emperor Akihito celebrates 77th birthday

Japan's Emperor Akihito celebrates 77th birthday

TOKYO (AP) — Emperor Akihito celebrated his 77th birthday Thursday and urged Japan to pay heed to the needs of the elderly, as the number of older people in the country rapidly grows.

Akihito greeted thousands of well-wishers waving Japanese flags from a balcony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Empress Michiko and other royal family members — including Akihito's eldest son Crown Prince Naruhito and his wife Crown Princess Masako — appeared on the balcony.

Akihito has cut back on official duties because of health reasons. He did not make any foreign trips this year. The emperor underwent an operation for prostate cancer in 2003, and the Imperial Household Agency says he has been undergoing hormonal therapy to prevent its recurrence.

At a palace news conference Monday, Akihito also said that he has hearing problems.

"With regard to aging, I have become somewhat hard of hearing so when I receive people, I ask ... them to try to talk to me in a louder voice," the emperor said.

He said he hopes people will be more attentive to the elderly, including more attention paid to ensure buildings and towns are better equipped to serve their needs.

"In our society today, where the aging population continues to grow, it is my sincere hope that there will be further understanding of the needs of the elderly," Akihito said.

Japan has long prided itself on its citizens' long life spans. Government data for 2009 showed average life expectancy was about 86 1/2 years for women and 79 1/2 for men.

Japan also is one of the world's most rapidly aging countries. Japanese who are 65 and older hit a record 22.7 percent of the population last year.

2010年12月24日 星期五

Chinese tourist numbers dive amid fallout


photoA drugstore in Osaka's Chuo Ward with signs in Chinese to help Chinese visitors (Kenta Sujino)

Arrivals of Chinese tourists to Japan fell at a faster pace in November due to fallout from the dispute over the Senkaku Islands two months earlier, government figures show.

Figures released by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) on Wednesday show that the number of tourists from the mainland China plummeted 15.9 percent year on year to 68,500 in November.

From Hong Kong, 27,400 tourists arrived, a decline of 14.7 percent from a year earlier.

The figures show that the rate of decline sharply accelerated from October, when it posted a drop of 1.8 percent from the same month in 2009.

From February to September, the number of arrivals from China set a record for each month.

An official with JNTO said the pace of the drop shot up because the fallout from strained bilateral ties spread to wider sectors and many Chinese opted to attend the Guangzhou Asian Games in November instead of traveling overseas.

The Japanese government will kick off a promotion campaign toward the Chinese New Year holidays in February to lure more tourists. The tourism industry is watching closely for signs of a rebound.

Meanwhile, a company in Beijing that canceled planned tours of 10,000 Chinese to Japan in protest over the Senkaku incident decided to favor South Korea next year, sources said.

Baojian, which deals in health foods and cosmetics, planned tours to Japan in early October with staff from sales agencies.

The scheduled tours were considered a huge coup following the relaxation in July of visa requirements for individual Chinese.

Baojian said it canceled them to protest Japan's handling of the Senkaku incident and as a display of its patriotism.

Having passed on an overseas trip this year, the company decided to send a tour group of the same size to South Korea.

South Korea competed with Japan to lure the Chinese group.

While the number of Chinese tourists visiting Japan dwindled, the figure for South Koreans climbed to 197,200 in November, up 51.3 percent from a year ago.

Overall, number of tourists to Japan rose 12.4 percent year on year to 635,000, a year-on-year increase for 13 months in a row.

The expansion of international flights to and from Tokyo's Haneda Airport in late October and growth in other economies apparently helped, analysts said.

Total arrivals from January to November surged 29.2 percent from the same period a year ago to 7,963,300, a record.

2010年12月20日 星期一

Uniqlo Makes Global Push

Uniqlo Makes Global Push
Japan's Fast Retailing plans to introduce its Uniqlo stores in the fast-growing Indian and Brazilian markets and to vastly expand its presence in China.

2010年12月15日 星期三

Japan, China moving closer together in outsourcing field


photoWorkers at a business process outsourcing center in Dalian input data to computers. (Gen Hashimoto)photoZhang Yue explains what work is like at Chuo Electric Works Ltd. to students at Kinki University in Higashi-Osaka, Osaka Prefecture. (Tetsushi Yamamura)

Editor's note: This concludes a two-part series on integration of Japanese and Chinese businesses.

* * *

At a busy office in Dalian, China, it is not uncommon to see a female worker weeping over scrawled handwriting on a document.

The office is a base for InfoDeliver, a Tokyo-based company that is the largest business process outsourcing (BPO) concern in Japan.

Japanese manufacturers forced to increase efficiency have been turning to the young and cheap labor in China. But now, other Japanese companies are using Chinese workers to handle even clerical work, leading to closer business ties between Japan and China.

In InfoDeliver's room that handles operations for Taiyo Life Insurance Co., about 30 women in their 20s sit in front of computers to enter handwritten diagnoses that are the basis for making insurance payments. And they obviously take their jobs very seriously.

"Their eagerness to improve themselves is incredible. If they come across characters they cannot read because of bad handwriting or peculiar habits, they will cry in anguish," said Yasuo Kumonari, 55, of Taiyo Life Insurance's claims adjustment section.

Because the women are able to correct misspellings or find dropped characters, their accuracy is considered greater than that of workers in Japan.

Several tens of thousands of young Chinese fluent in Japanese work for Japanese clients at BPO companies in a high-tech industrial complex in Dalian.

Not only is the volume of work being outsourced growing, but the content of the work is also increasing in importance.

Taiyo Life Insurance turned over the work to InfoDeliver in 2008. The amount of work reaches 13,000 cases a month.

The entered data was initially used only as supplementary materials. But since October, insurance payments have been checked based on that data.

InfoDeliver has 1,500 employees in Dalian who can handle a wide range of activities.

Sompo Japan Insurance Co. has used its Dalian base to handle accident reports.

Agents fill out handwritten reports that include about 300 items, and those reports are faxed to the Dalian base.

Each report is entered into a computer within six minutes. Ten minutes after a client has contacted the company, an agent in charge of handling the accident report has the information on a computer screen.

At education service provider Benesse Corp., postcard applications to its Shinken Seminar correspondence sessions that are received at a Tokyo post office are partially scanned and sent to Dalian, where the data is entered into a computer.

The method eliminates one day from the time it takes to mail out learning materials after receiving the applications.

Although Japan Post Service Co. has not made public its internal operations, information on reports for those who have moved and want mail forwarded is believed to be handled at the Dalian base.

Companies in Japan and China are also becoming more involved in each other's management.

In late October, a meeting was held at the Tokyo headquarters of Renown Inc. to help Chinese business people absorb the Japanese way of management.

In attendance were about 40 visiting senior officials from Shandong Ruyi Science & Technology Group, a Jining, Shandong province-based textile company that acquired about a 40-percent stake in Renown in July.

Over a two-day period, Renown employees served as lecturers at a Tokyo hotel to pass on how business was conducted.

The topics included periods when corrections had to be made in budget management and reasons for monthly sales differences.

Opinions were exchanged to seek a compromise between the Japanese and Chinese ways of doing business.

Toshiharu Oogiri, 53, the Renown official in charge of the company's Chinese strategy, built up a relationship of trust with Qiu Yafu, 52, chairman of the Shandong Ruyi Science & Technology Group, after repeated discussions.

"I was told they would implement a Japanese-style management," Oogiri said.

Preparations are being made for the first retail outlet in China to be operated by a Renown-Shandong joint venture. The eventual goal is to have 2,000 outlets in a decade.

One area where compromise is needed is in design. Oogiri said, "There is a way to take advantage of Renown's strengths in the creative area."

However, Shandong officials want design work conducted the Chinese way.

"Although Chinese consumers have specific tastes, Japanese companies do not want to change their way of doing things," said a senior Chinese official who came to Japan. "They should move closer to the needs of China by moving design work to the mainland."

According to officials of Recof Corp., which provides advice on mergers and acquisitions, there were 26 cases in 2009 of Chinese companies acquiring Japanese companies. This year, there have already been 36 cases through November.

Japanese companies are also reaching out to Chinese companies.

Since 2008, major trading company Itochu Corp. has invested in a number of Chinese and Taiwanese conglomerates and has gained rights to intervene from a management standpoint.

In 2009, Itochu obtained a 28-percent share of Shanshan Group Co. based in Ningbo, Zhejiang province.

The Shanshan Group has expanded its operations from apparel, its main line of business, to financial services, real estate, lithium batteries and solar cells.

In thinking long-term, company Chairman Zheng Yonggang said, "There are more things we can learn from Japanese companies, which stress trust, than from the U.S. companies that Chinese companies have used as models."

Although relations between Japan and China have wavered due to the Senkaku Islands incident, Zheng said: "Minor disputes will eventually be resolved. No one in the business sector wants to see the relationship between Japan and China worsen, and there is very little actual effect (from the Senkaku incident)."

It is rare for a Japanese company to invest directly in a conglomerate group. Itochu officials feel they can gain the "fruits" of various growth sectors by partnering with a conglomerate.

"We want the two companies to engage in projects on a scale of 10 billion yuan (about 120 billion yen)," Zheng said.

Chinese studying in Japan have also helped to bridge the gap between the two nations.

In 2009, there were 6,333 Chinese students in Japan who found work in Japanese companies, double the figure of five years ago. They have especially had a large presence in small and medium-sized companies.

An association of such companies in Osaka Prefecture held a job fair in October.

The only individual in charge of the booth for Chuo Electric Works Ltd., which manufactures measuring equipment, was Zhang Yue, 28, a third-year employee from Dalian.

"Zhang understands what kind of people we are looking for," said Yoshio Hatano, 63, the company's president.

A 26-year-old Chinese student who visited the booth said, "It is very comforting to have someone who understands our situation."

Of the 44 employees at Chuo Electric Works, eight are Chinese. And three of the six new recruits picked this year are Chinese.

"Unlike major companies where one has to do what one has been assigned, there are many areas where we can contribute," Zhang said.

In late September, Nagaoka International Corp., a waterworks equipment manufacturer based in Izumiotsu, Osaka Prefecture, was presented a technology award at the World Water Congress of the International Water Association held in Montreal.

Standing on the stage to receive the award along with company President Hitoshi Mimura, 61, was No Hayashi, 52, who was born in China but is now in charge of the company's water business.

After returning to Japan, Hayashi was made a director, the first foreigner to reach that status.

He had worked for a major Japanese waterworks consulting company and acquired Japanese citizenship.

Last year, he moved to Nagaoka, which has 130 employees.

"A big reason was that the president trusted me enough to do whatever I wanted," Hayashi said.

(This article was written by Tetsushi Yamamura, Kyoko Isa and Tokuhiko Saito.)

2010年12月7日 星期二

Seals and silvery sardines lighten the spirit at Christmas time



photoSantas and seals at the Epson Shinagawa Aqua Stadium (Louis Templado)photoSardines form a Christmas tree illusion at the Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise. (Louis Templado)

It's that time of the year again, when nearly everywhere you look is lit up by Christmas illuminations. It's grand, but after a few "oohs" and "ahhhs," the festive lights start looking familiar, while the mercury drops.

For an experience more novel, head over to the aquarium. Like honey and gorgonzola cheese, Christmas and sea creatures are an unexpectedly savory pairing.

In Tokyo's Shinagawa area, for instance, you can enjoy the Norwegian-themed illuminations--imagine the elf-like Julenissen instead of Santa Claus--before diving into the glow of the Epson Shinagawa Aqua Stadium, inside the Shinagawa Prince Hotel complex. (Despite the name, it's actually in Minato Ward.)

If you enjoy watching neon-colored fish swimming around stacked martini glasses and Christmas ornaments (and who doesn't?), this is the place to be.

If you time your visit just right, say just after work and before dinner, you can also catch sight of two baby fur seals, kitted out with reindeer horns, walking the watery corridors of the aquarium. The event is a first for the five-year-old facility and continues until Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, at Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise, you can happen on something more illusionary: A glittery "Christmas tree" formed from sardines. Together with sharks, the aquarium's main tank is stocked with a school of 50,000 "ma-iwashi" sardines.

Come meal time, a combination of pumps disperses feed into the 1,500 tons of enclosed water in such a way that it forms a cone. When the lights dim and the sardines start to feed, you'll be lost for words.

Standing in the dark, listening to Christmas carols while watching a silvery spiral of sardines may not be a normal Yuletide experience.

It is, however, oddly enthralling and proves that the spirit of the holidays really is wherever you look for it.


Epson Shinagawa Aqua Stadium in the Shinagawa Prince Hotel is a three-minute walk from Shinagawa Station. Open from noon to 10 p.m. (from 10 a.m. on weekends, closing at 9 p.m. Sundays). The seal walk takes place daily at 6:30 p.m. until Dec. 21, at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 22-25. Admission is 1,800 yen (1,000 yen after 7 p.m.). See (aquastadium.jp).

Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is in front of Hakkeijima Station on the Seaside Line. Admission is 4,400 yen. Christmas pair tickets are 5,000 yen for two, until Dec. 25. For details, see (www.seaparadise.co.jp/english).

2010年12月5日 星期日

Japan’s Robot Picks Only the Ripest Strawberries

December 4th, 2010 by Aaron Saenz
Filed under robots.

With multiple cameras and sharp pincers, this robot resembles an insect pest. However, it could help revolutionize fruit picking.

It takes more than a green thumb to be a great farmer, super-human vision helps as well. The Institute of Agricultural Machinery at Japan’s National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, along with SI Seiko, has developed a robot that can select and harvest strawberries based on their color. Ripened berries are detected using the robot’s stereoscopic cameras, and analyzed to measure how red they appear. When the fruit is ready to come off the vine, the robot quickly locates it in 3D space and cuts it free. From observation to collection, the harvesting process takes about 9 seconds per berry. Creators estimate that it will be able to cut down harvesting time by 40%. Prototypes are currently being tested in the field with marketable versions expected in the next few years. This artificial agriculturalist was recently recognized by the 4th Annual Robot Award of the Year in Japan. You can see why in the videos below. If we adapt its combination of visual acuity and manual dexterity for other produce, the strawberry harvesting robot could help reshape industrial agriculture.

A typical berry field one square kilometer in size takes about 500 hours to harvest. With its speedy evaluation, the strawberry picking robot could cut this down to around 300 hours. Not only that, but every berry would have a quantifiably similar level of ripeness based on color, and would be harvested with a minimum of bruising. Robots will also be able to harvest during the night (as shown in the videos below) allowing for the fruit to reach market closer to optimum freshness. These improvements in speed and quality will likely translate to millions of dollars saved each year for the industry as a whole. Even if we focus on strawberries alone, robots like this one make a lot of sense.

Berries have a relatively high value per fruit, and can be raised in controlled conditions very well, so they are an ideal first test case. Clearly, however, the lessons that NARO is learning with the strawberry robot are going to apply to tomatoes, grapes, and many other plants with similar anatomies. Crop selection based on color would be useful for almost all fruits, as well as many other forms of produce. Stereoscopic vision, which allows the robot to accurately locate the fruit in 3D space and remove it without damage, could help with any agricultural project, and is a big part of the robotics industry as a whole.

We’ve seen other projects which highlight the potential of robots in the gardens, fields, and farms of the world. MIT developed prototype bots that could monitor, feed, and harvest tomato plants. Robots have been an important part of dairy farming, and continue to increase in scale and skill. Such machines allow humans to fill management roles and let robots maintain cheaper, healthier, and more valuable crops.

The automation of agriculture could prove to be a pivotal development in the early 21st century, akin to the adoption of combustion engines in the early 20th century. Just as horses were eventually replaced by tractors, humans may find themselves replaced by robots in the remaining realms of agricultural labor in which they still hold sway.

It will be a few years, however, before NARO’s strawberry robot is threatening anyone’s job. Yes, the sophistication of the bot is wonderful to behold, but the device is still in field tests. Developers will need to finish that research, redesign the robot accordingly, and then market the device. Who knows how long it would take it to hit the global agricultural industry. That’s assuming, of course, that the robot’s costs (for electrical power, maintenance, etc) are low enough not to interfere with the benefits it produces in harvest effeciency and quality.

Given enough time, however, it will make economic sense to pick berries with robots rather than humans. The history of industrial agriculture teaches us that if a worker can be replaced by a machine, they will be. Yet despite the obvious disruptions this causes in employment, I think the eventual move towards robotic agriculture is a vital one. We are still fighting global hunger, and anything that can increase our productivity and efficiency in agriculture is likely a valuable step towards solving that grand challenge. The strawberry robot is a relatively small development, but it’s a good one.

[screen capture: meminsider]
[video credit: DigInfo News, meminsider]
[source: DigInfo]

2010年12月2日 星期四



〔編譯林翠儀/綜合報導〕日本日前公布今年度的流行語及年度新聞,結果卻令民主黨政府相 當尷尬:不但民主黨黨魁選舉時出現的「脫小澤(一郎)」一詞被選為流行語,日中釣魚台撞船事件與撞船影片外流事件,還被青少年選為年度新聞的榜首與第三 名。網路流行語投票中,與釣魚台事件相關的「外流(sengoku38)」也獲得銀牌獎。

今年的「新語與流行語」從入圍的六十句中票選出十 句,其中獲得大獎的「怪怪怪的(GEGEGE)」,出自NHK日劇「怪怪怪的妻子」,這部日劇改編自妖怪畫家水木茂夫人武良布枝的自傳,播出後造成轟動。 另外,還有「脫小澤」、「AKB48」、「女子會」、「食用辣油」、「無緣社會」及「育兒男」等與政治、社會現象及影劇相關的流行語。

由於 年度新語、流行語名單公布後,一般都會頒獎給各個流行語的「始作俑者」,而令民主黨感到尷尬的是,「脫小澤」一語獲獎後,首相官邸的記者便起鬨拱菅直人首 相出面領獎,遭菅直人以「我沒說過這句話」為由拒絕領獎。後來,媒體又找上被視為是民主黨內反前幹事長小澤一郎主將的官房長官仙谷由人,仙谷也只能苦笑搖 頭。



平價當道 日本人變了!好過族!

一碗牛丼飯的祕密 平價當道 日本人變了!

作者:謝明玲  出處:天下雜誌 461期 2010/11








從一九九○年開始,日本經濟陷入長期不景氣,失落了二十年。景氣不佳,終身雇用制崩解、裁員、派遣人員盛行,讓日本人陷入更大的焦慮。影響所及,造 成消費行為的改變,麥肯錫的報告指出,社會中新興、從未經歷過泡沫經濟的年輕一輩,對於職場和消費傾向悲觀,成為得過且過的「好過族」。 過去日本消費者,肯為品質和便利性付錢,但現在他們湧入折扣商店和網路購物,購買大包裝的便宜商品。人們更少出門,甚至自己帶便當。麥肯錫稱日本的消費, 已經進入了新常態(new normal)。






2 交換經濟興起,「喜歡不一定要擁有」



這家在失落的二十年間成長的二手商店,在日本已有逼近一千家分店,甚至將觸角延伸到其他用品的回收。消費者能在這兒換到一點錢,也能以相對低的價格 購得物品。不只是書、CD、DVD、電玩等,還包括嬰兒用品、服飾、甚至是高爾夫球具等,Bookoff要打造「再利用」的事業王國。

3 更彈性的消費


今年春天,吉野家針對這個新客群著手研究新商品,秋天正式推出了兩百八十圓的「牛鍋丼」。牛鍋丼為吉野家增加了四○%的客人。木津表示,其實這群人 並不是每天都來吃兩百八十圓的餐點,中間也可能間雜昂貴的消費,某些層面也追求好的商品,但失落十年,讓消費者「依情況精打細算」的狀況更加明 顯。

Omotesando lights up for Christmas


photoShoppers view holiday-season illuminations in Tokyo's Omotesando district. (Hiroshi Kawai)

Tokyo's Omotesando district burst into light Tuesday evening when holiday illuminations adorning the main boulevard were turned on.

At 6 p.m., nearly a million light-emitting diodes lit up the 153 trees lining the 1 kilometer-long Omotesando Street. Spectators cheered when organizers threw the switch.

The illumination returned to the up-scale shopping district last year after an absence of a decade.

To celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of Meiji Shrine and its Omotesando approach, a record 900,000 LED lights were used this year, compared with 630,000 last year.

The lights will be switched on daily from sunset to 10 p.m. through Jan. 3.

2010年12月1日 星期三

Top-Selling Book in 2010

Top-Selling Book in 2010

A novel about a high-school girl who takes inspiration from the teachings of Peter Drucker, the Austrian-born management consultant who died in 2005, is set to become Japan’s biggest seller this year.

“What If the Female Assistant of a High-School Baseball Team Read Drucker’s ‘Management’,” written by Natsumi Iwasaki, sold 1.21 million copies in the year ended Nov. 21, beating out Haruki Murakami’s “1Q84” and a dieting guide, database provider Oricon Inc. said today on its website.

Iwasaki’s story is about a teenager named Minami who is trying to help her high school’s baseball team get into Japan’s national tournament at Koshien stadium. After mistakenly picking up Drucker’s “Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices” in a store, she decides to read through the 1973 book and apply his methods in her dealings with both players and coaches.

“Japanese loved the book because they want advice for living in an uncertain world,” Eiji Hiruma, a spokesman for Diamond Inc., the book’s publisher, said today by telephone. “Drucker sticks to basic principles, so what he said can be applied to almost anyone.”

Drucker, who was born in Vienna and studied at Frankfurt University before moving to the U.S. in 1937, taught at several colleges before joining the faculty of the Claremont Graduate School in California. His work has been cited by business leaders including former General Electric Co. CEO Jack Welch and Intel Corp.’s Andrew Grove.

2010年11月29日 星期一



  • 2010-11-30
  • 中國時報
  • 【本報訊】





 所謂「問責」其實就是究責,亦即責任的追究,這是一個民主法治政府重要的制度運作,也是日本政治中「非常態性的戰略武器」。然而,國會通 過追究政治責任的決議案,一般來說只能做道德性的訴求,並無其法律的拘束力,換言之,如果當事人死皮賴臉,理論上很有可能躲過殺傷力不大的問責決議案。













問責制,英文是Accountability System。這個在西方社會早已實施的人事管理制度,意思是從民選中當選的國家首長親自選出合適的官員來負責各項事務;當政策出現失誤時,那麼犯錯的官員將要離職以示向首長問責;如果因犯錯而引致政策失誤過於嚴重的話,首長便須下台;向其他官員和市民問責。


2010年11月28日 星期日

Long lack of China strategy puts Japan in a bind


photoPrime Minister Naoto Kan listens to Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the APEC summit. (Pool photo)

For years, as Japan has played musical chairs with its prime minister's post, China has steadily become the king of the castle in the neighborhood.

Now, after the failures of the successive Japanese leaders to devise a clear China strategy, the current government of Naoto Kan finds itself impotent in dealing with the latest crisis in East Asia--North Korea's shelling of a South Korean island Tuesday.

Kan said Thursday at the Lower House Budget Committee that China's involvement is needed to defuse the conflict between the two Koreas.

"We must also have China, which holds strong influence over North Korea, deal with the matter while being aware of the responsibility it has," Kan said.

Although Kan met with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Yokohama earlier this month, Japan's relations with China remained bruised over the brouhaha that ensued after a Chinese trawler rammed two Japan Coast Guard vessels near the disputed Senkaku Islands in September.

Japan is now in no position to lobby China to rein in North Korea.

"The current government has not sufficiently created an international order that involves China," said Lee Jong Won, a professor of international politics at Tokyo's Rikkyo University.

However, the Kan administration is not solely at fault for Japan's lack of a clear diplomatic vision for dealing with China.

Successive governments led by the Liberal Democratic Party before it lost power in the August 2009 Lower House election also failed to establish a clear strategy.

From the late 1990s, Japan had made few attempts to broaden its diplomatic outlook beyond simply depending on the security alliance with the United States.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's diplomatic stance was clear--place all of Japan's bets on the United States.

"The better Japan's relations with the United States become, the better will be Japan's relations with China, South Korea and other Asian nations," Koizumi once said.

He underscored that stance by dispatching the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq and the Indian Ocean for the U.S.-led war on terrorism.

Koizumi also visited North Korea twice, met with its leader, Kim Jong Il, and managed to repatriate Japanese nationals abducted by Pyongyang. North Korea at one time hoped that Koizumi would serve as an intermediary for dialogue with the United States.

But at the same time, Koizumi infuriated China and South Korea by making annual pilgrimages to Yasukuni Shrine, where Class-A war criminals are honored along with Japan's war dead.

Koizumi's successor, Shinzo Abe, proposed establishing a "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests" with China. But Abe resigned after a year before that idea could fully develop.

Abe's successors, Yasuo Fukuda and Taro Aso, were also in office for only about a year each. They achieved nothing constructive in terms of improving relations with China.

Efforts had been made to deal with an emerging China, but the main focus was greater cooperation between the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military.

In 2005, the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee issued a joint statement that included a list of "common strategic objectives."

The objectives included one to "support peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula" and another to "encourage the peaceful resolution of issues concerning the Taiwan Strait through dialogue."

The list's overall objective was having Japan and the United States work closely together to deal with any development in East Asia.

However, the common strategic objectives were considered a legacy of the LDP. Things changed after the Democratic Party of Japan took power in summer 2009.

When Yukio Hatoyama became prime minister, he proposed an "East Asian community" that would allow Japan to become more independent of its security alliance with the United States.

Ichiro Ozawa, the DPJ's secretary-general under Hatoyama, said the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet would be a sufficient military presence in the Far East.

Those remarks led to increased concerns within Washington about the Hatoyama administration.

Matters reached a head when Hatoyama appeared willing to break a Japan-U.S. agreement on relocating the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture.

When Kan replaced Hatoyama, the new leader's main diplomatic concern was to re-emphasize Japan's alliance with the United States.

In the meantime, tensions on the Korean Peninsula increased, and China moved aggressively to expand its maritime interests.

Japan and the United States are finally seeking a new diplomatic vision.

During his Nov. 13 meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Kan said, "Many people recognize the importance of the Japan-U.S. security alliance and of the presence of the U.S. military."

Kan and Obama also discussed ways to bring China into the international community and make it follow international rules.

However, Japan has yet to come up with a diplomatic strategy for all of Asia.

"There may have been a problem in which the DPJ government had not adjusted policy regarding its diplomatic stance," said Kiichi Fujiwara, a professor of international politics at the University of Tokyo. "However, with Kan succeeding Hatoyama, who proposed the East Asian community idea, gradual progress is being made to convert diplomatic policy to one of caution against China."

Akio Takahara, a University of Tokyo professor specializing in modern China politics, said the rapid growth of China has changed the picture.

"The largest factor of uncertainty in the East Asia region is the question of where China is headed. As long as it continues with its economic growth, its expansion of military power cannot be stopped. But China also cannot be contained," he said.

(This article was written by Kengo Sakajiri and Yoshiyuki Komurata.)

2010年11月25日 星期四

Japan equals France for top three-starred Michelin restaurants

Japan equals France for top three-starred Michelin restaurants

France's gastronomic prowess has met its match for the first time after Japan equalled its total of top three-starred restaurants in this year's Michelin gourmet guide.

Sushi restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, in Tokyo
Jiro Ono, master sushi chief, in front of his sushi restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro, one of Tokyo's 14 three-starred establishments Photo: EPA

The 2011 Tokyo version of the haute cuisine bible brought Japan's total of coveted stars to 26 – on a par with France, whose new guide comes out in March.

The Japanese capital bolstered its position as the world capital of cuisine by posting 14 three-starred establishments, up from 11 last year, stretching its lead over Paris, which has just 10.

Michelin judged 266 eateries in Tokyo and the surrounding cities of Yokohama and Kamakura to be worthy of stellar treatment, with 54 eateries receiving two stars and a further 198 awarded a lone star.

French national pride in its cuisine had been riding high since UNESCO last week declared its "festive gastronomic meal" a world heritage treasure.

Despite the apparent knock to Gallic hubris, Jean-Luc Naret, director of the Michelin Guides, insisted Japan's rise was no cause for shame as France was still way ahead per eatery.

"You have to put things in perspective," he said at the Tokyo launch.

"France has 200,000 restaurants," he said, compared with more than 500,000 in Japan, according to local statistics. Tokyo alone boasts 160,000 restaurants, more than ten times the number found in Paris.

"There are a lot of good restaurants and a lot of bad ones," Mr Naret said.

"You don't always eat well in Tokyo, but there is a high proportion of very good restaurants." Michelin employs seven inspectors in Japan who visit 1,800 addresses, compared to 15 inspectors in France who visit more than 8,000 eateries.

Three stars mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey; two stars are for excellent cooking, worth a detour; one star denotes a very good restaurant.

The Japanese restaurants joining the coveted top bracket include Araki, a new sushi restaurant that went straight in on three stars.

Hamadaya, a traditional Japanese restaurant and 7chome Kyoboshi [corr], which specialises in tempura, were promoted from two, along with Usukifugu Yamadaya, known for fugu, a fish that is poisonous if wrongly prepared.

Only two restaurants in the top 14 now serve French fare: Quintessence and Joel Robuchon, whose eponymous celebrity owner remains the Michelin's highest-scoring chef in Tokyo, with a total of seven stars including two each for his restaurants, La Table and L'Atelier.

2010年11月24日 星期三

Japan Now Neck-and-Neck With France in Culinary Prowess

Japan Now Neck-and-Neck With France in Culinary Prowess
Wall Street Journal (blog)
Japan's capital was awarded more stars than any other city by the tire company's newly released restaurant guide, which includes outlying cities Yokohama ...

Japan department store sales rise
Sales at 261 stores across the nation came to 512.1 billion yen (six billion dollars) in October, up 0.6 percent from a year earlier, the Japan Department ...

Chalmers Johnson, contrarian scholar on Asia, dies
By JAY ALABASTER American scholar Chalmers Johnson, a sharp critic of US foreign policy whose views on Japan's economic rise bucked the establishment 30 ...



日本俳聖松尾芭蕉歌詠水仙的俳句不少,這是其中有名的一首。白色的花和白色的紙門,如何映照呢?休息的空檔,環顧老師位於古都巷弄的日式屋宅,恍然明白 了。原來,和室的構築,插花作品大都擺在「床の間」(tokonoma,又稱壁龕)這內凹的小空間,背後飾以掛軸,中間是接待客人的區塊,前方就是薄而透 光的隔間紙障門。當賓客蒞臨,紙門一關一開,窗牖的光線斜斜地照射,於是就有了掩映曖昧的花影;他們聊著聊著,天色轉暗之前,雪花也輕輕飄下來了……

2010年11月23日 星期二

法務相失言下台 :「藐視國會」

東京觀察/法務相失言下台 菅政權崩盤前兆?
政權告急,日相菅直人愁眉不展。 (法新社)

〔編 譯林翠儀/綜合報導〕日本法務大臣柳田稔因為失言風波,二十二日辭職下台,但似乎沒辦法讓菅直人政府的執政危機止跌回升。產經新聞與富士新聞網公布的最新 民調顯示,菅直人內閣支持率已暴跌至二十一.八%,瀕臨危險水位。朝日新聞也報導,除在野黨攻勢不斷外,民主黨前幹事長小澤一郎陣營很可能加入倒閣串連, 菅直人在年底前恐將面臨一場倒閣風暴。

菅內閣支持率 僅剩21趴




日 本媒體指出,柳田被逼退可能引發的骨牌效應,恐將造成菅直人內閣崩盤。從民意支持度來看,產經與富士在二十及二十一日進行的民調結果顯示,受訪者對菅政權 的領導力、外交安保政策、領土問題的應對等表現,不滿意的比例均高達八成以上。內閣支持率已暴跌至二十一.八%,只比前首相鳩山由紀夫下台前的十九.一% 多出二.七個百分點。

首相適任度 小澤一郎民調第一



Japan:tuna position/ chihuahua

Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010

Japan: Nations caught overfishing tuna next year should be barred

PARIS (Kyodo) Japan on Friday proposed imposing bans on countries suspected of catching more than their fair share of bluefin tuna starting next year.

The proposal, submitted at a session of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas conference, would require countries to make plans for complying with ICCAT regulations before the fishing season starts and to seek permission to fish from an observation committee.

If the committee withholds permission, the countries would be prohibited from fishing bluefin tuna.

Japan brought up the proposal because it believes that imposing sanctions after the fishing season is not effective, Fisheries Agency officials said at the conference.

The ICCAT sessions since Wednesday have revealed that a number of countries violated regulations for protecting the tuna and failed to present documents to prove they abided by the rules and stuck to their quotas, sources close to the conference said.

But other countries that remain critical of Japan, the world's largest tuna consumer, are calling for drastically cutting quotas instead, saying it is more effective than fishing bans.


Tiny chihuahua set to join Japan police

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Momo competed against golden retrievers and German shepherds to win a place as a contract police dog

A chihuahua named Momo (Peach) has passed the exam to become a dog in the police force in western Japan, in what seems to be a first.

The 3kg (6.6lb) dog is set to become part of a search-and-rescue team used for disasters such as earthquakes.

Its small size means it will be able to squeeze into places too narrow for dogs such as German Shepherds.

Chihuahuas, named after a Mexican state, are one of the the smallest breeds of dog.

"It's quite rare for us to have a chihuahua work as a police dog," said a police spokeswoman in Nara, western Japan.

"We would like it to work hard by taking advantage of its small size."

Momo, aged seven, will begin work in January.



本刊版主剛從中國回來 一周來未更新


鍾 漢清
Hanching Chung (or HC/ hc)
台灣戴明圈: A Taiwanese Deming Circle
電話:(02) 23650127

2010年11月15日 星期一

Highlighting JAPAN November 2010

No.33 (November 15, 2010)

[Contents of Highlighting JAPAN November 2010]



More than two-thirds of the Japanese archipelago is forested.
Consequently, Japanese people have long found a variety of uses
for wood, from the construction of shrines, temples and houses,
to the development of all manner of crafts. We look at how
the Japanese people have nurtured, developed and repaired
the forests, and introduce some of the uses-both traditional
and modern-to which the forests are put.

-Forests Are Lovers of the Sea

-Towns Making Use of Biomass

-The Fall and Rise of a Great Ginkgo

-Lignophenol- The Ultimate Eco-friendly, Multifunctional Material

-Wooden Bags Hold Global Appeal

-Boosting the World's Forest Cover

-National Arbor Day

-Towards a "Woody Society"



-Women: Leaders Network and Entrepreneurship

-APEC Cranks Up Two Growth Engines

-Focus on Food Security


-Japan, the Smart Choice


-Let's Get Digital


-New "Bioabsorbable" Vascular Stents


-All the Fun of the Factory

* Please click below to open the online magazine

* Please help us make our magazine better by answering the questionnaire.

2010年11月13日 星期六

Haneda reborn

《中英對照讀新聞》From stars to Hello Kitty: all at new Tokyo terminal 從星星到凱蒂貓:東京新機場什麼都有


Fancy a look at the stars while waiting for your flight? How about a slot-car race, strolling through an old-time Japanese street, or shopping at a Hello Kitty store?


All will be on offer at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport from Oct. 31 as the airport resumes full-fledged international service for the first time in 32 years, when its role was usurped by the opening of Narita International Airport.


The high-ceilinged, brand new international terminal -- built to complement the completion of the airport’s fourth runway, which will eventually increase capacity by more than 30 percent -- replaces a small utilitarian building with minimal facilities.


Haneda lost its crown as Tokyo’s international airport in 1978, when Narita opened, though a few international flights still operated.


But with Japan’s government eager to promote Tokyo as a 24-hour international air hub to rival South Korea’s Incheon, Haneda was expanded and international flights relaunched.


Narita’s operating hours are limited as part of a deal hammered out with local landowners in order to build the airport, which faced stiff opposition.



full- fledged/fully-fledged:原指幼鳥羽毛生齊的,也可引申為指發展完整的、受過充分訓練的、成熟的,如After years of study, he is now a full-fledged architect.(經過多年研讀,他現在已是位成熟的建築師。)

utilitarian:形容詞,指強調實用性的,而非裝飾性的設計,如Like many factories it’s a very ugly utilitarian building.(跟許多工廠一樣,這是一棟外觀醜陃的實用型建築物。)

hammer (sth) out:片語,指透過談判達成協議,如The two parties could not hammer a contract out. (雙方未能就合約達成協議。)

hammer ...out/hammer out ...[hammer ...out/hammer out ...]

Work out with considerable effort, as in It took weeks of negotiations to hammer out an acceptable compromise. This usage likens intellectual effort to shaping metal with the blows of a hammer. [Mid-1700s]

(1) …を(ハンマーでたたいて)打ち出す;((略式))〈音・曲を〉たたいて出す
hammer out a melody on the piano
(2) (粘り強い交渉の末に)〈妥協などを〉ひねり出す.

2010年11月12日 星期五


劇作家之死 (李長聲)


  《組曲虐殺》是評傳小林多喜二的音樂劇,二 〇〇九年十月上演。劇中未出現共產黨之類的字樣,但誰都知道,小林是上世紀初葉的普羅文學家,著有《蟹工船》,被員警拷問致死。故事雖淒慘,但表現手法照 樣是非常井上。滿堂笑聲,舞台上成功演繹了「為什麼連一隻螞蟻都不忍踩死的靦櫔少年能成為忍受三小時拷問甚至不怕虐殺的青年」。井上也曾用戲劇為作家臶口 一葉、太宰治立傳。年高八十五的哲學家梅原猛說:「從《葫蘆島歷險記》那時候就覺得井上君是驚人的逸才。他的戲劇充滿辛辣的社會諷刺與幽默,總是站在弱者 的立場上。他創造了喜劇新形式,雖然思想不同,但我尊敬他。」


  井上廈生於一九三四年,讀上智大學法語專業 時,為淺草的脫衣舞劇場寫小喜劇,以賺取學費和生活費。淺草是東京老街,民眾演劇勃興於此地,那時主要演員有後來演「寅次郎的故事」系列電影成名的渥美 清。井上本打算就此幹一輩子,但他試圖組織工會,要求加薪,被資方指使地痞給打了出去。不過,一年之間他掌握了淺草的笑、用笑鬥爭的方法,日後為同樣出身 於淺草的北野武的一本書寫後記,說淺草時代是「黃金時代」。他另謀生路,給出版社倉庫打更,並起勁寫腳本四處應徵,兩年裏應徵一百四十五次,平均每月獲賞 金一萬四千多日元(當時小學教師起薪為八千日元)。《糊裏糊塗三十,晃來晃去四十》獲得藝術祭腳本獎勵賞。NHK約他做廣播劇改編及創作。日本自一九五三 年開播電視,一九六四年東京舉辦奧運會,彩色電視機借勢普及,就從這一年開始,NHK播映井上廈與人合作的木偶電視音樂劇《葫蘆島歷險記》,連續一千二百 二十四集。

  從一九五八年到一九七三年,井上廈幾乎天天 去NHK,就像在NHK就職。廣播尤其是電視業使他富起來。東京奧運會開幕後,井上廈為NHK寫了一個廣播劇《吉里吉里人獨立》,也就是後來大暢銷的小說 《吉里吉里人》的原型。故事是東北地方一個被經濟高速度發展所拋棄的窮村莊宣布從日本分離,建立理想的獨立國家,日本發生一場大混亂。小說還獲得日本SF 大賞,但問題是現實,不要忘記NHK是半官方的。井上廈後來在隨筆中追述:「廣播劇的主題和故事展開當然與小說相同,但那反響卻非常驚人,全部是惡評,而 且所有的論點都一樣,是這樣的:通過奧運這一宏大的活動,日本如今終於名副其實成為國際社會的一員。戰後二十年來日本人努力奮鬥,這次世紀性盛典可說是其 成果,我們感到驕傲。可是,為什麼播放對日本懷有不滿、一部分日本從日本分離獨立的混賬話?玩笑也太過份了。」另一個廣播音樂劇,寫的是老鼠國,有一集買 房騷亂,執政黨政客認為影射了政府的住房政策而施壓。大概這些事情使井上「從電視世界一點點撤步抽身,疏遠了之後再回顧顯像管世界,甚至覺得它不就是『顯 像管監獄』嗎」?

關於電視,他進而寫道:「現在一手承擔這個國家的大眾娛樂的,不消說,是被叫 作電視的、整天發出青白光的、擺設在各家最好的地方的、那個四方四角的箱子,但這箱子為我們提供的笑貧寒得可憐。為寫這篇小文,某日從清早到深夜我在這箱 子前度過,卻沒碰上一次能紓緩我心的笑。」甚至說:「我這十幾年間以提供劇本的形式和電視打交道,如果從這十幾年間的經驗來說,覺得『電視是諸惡之 源』。」


  與其受制於權力,不如轉而寫舞台音樂劇。用 一年零四個月的工夫寫成《日本人的肚臍》,毫無信心地去看舞台排練,「笑得太過份,竟然從椅子上跌倒。一瞬之間甚至沒弄明白,這麼有意思的戲是誰寫的。其 實就是這時候,我下了決心:戲劇這東西這麼有意思,那就認真搞下去罷。」此劇於一九六九年上演。井上徹底脫離了電視世界,一九七二年以《道元的冒險》獲得 有戲劇芥川賞之稱的岸田國士戲曲賞,一九八三年成立「小松座」劇團,專門演出他的劇作,直到今天。

  上世紀六七十年代是政治年代,日本風行小劇 場運動,與那些帶有火藥味的戲劇相比,井上廈的喜劇或許被諧音、俏皮之類語言遊戲的笑遮掩了思想,或許被人無視嘲諷,抹煞了思想。一九七〇年上演《表裏源 內蛙合戰》,貌似敦厚的井上廈居然在劇場說明書上撰文,說:「『十分有趣但不能否認底蘊淺』 ,『確實易懂但沒有哲學』,『沒有思想但異想天開,才氣煥發,也不妨有這樣的東西』,這是有識之士對我的戲劇的看法。別人說什麼那是別人的事,與我無關, 但是把有說成無,我實在生氣,而且對不起寒舍書架上一大排《世界大思想全集》和日夜愛讀的《現代日本思想體系》等書本。」


  井上廈談思想:「簡單說來,『我們這個世界 將來如此如此這般這般,對於自己或者對於人們來說更幸福(以上是價值觀念)。於是,一同考慮不那麼的,不這麼的(這是知識),最好這麼的,應該這麼做。』 這是思想。更通俗地說,『最好是這個樣,所以要這麼做』是思想。」 實際上,井上廈是一位甚至有點過於有思想的社會活動家。不僅擔任過日本筆會的會長,在他主持下,筆會的反戰色彩尤為鮮亮,而且是呼籲世界和平七人委員會委 員,「不改變、不許改變誓不再戰的日本國憲法第九條」的九條會召集人之一。他的活動就是到處講日本如此這般會更好,所以反對天皇制,也不妨礙他出席天皇主 持的茶話會。他幻想的「吉里吉里國」有高超的醫學,近年更主張日本要做出國際貢獻,其中一個就是要有世界最好的醫學,以至全世界的醫生都要用日語寫病歷, 從普京、小布殊到各國富豪都要來日本看病,他們都成了「人質」,就不能攻擊日本,於是和平。

搜狐娱乐讯 日本著名剧作家、曾获得文化功劳奖的井上厦,9日晚10点22分,因肺癌在神奈川县镰仓市的家中去世,享年75岁。去年10月井上厦被诊断为肺癌,之后一直在和病魔战斗。9号傍晚从医院回到家中突然身体状况恶化。

  曾写过多部作品的井上厦,还为正确使用日语发表过多部作品。他的突然去世让日本艺能界一片惋惜。当天井上厦主办的剧团“小松座”社长、三女儿井 上麻矢在东京台东区举行了记者发布会。据悉井上先生去年10月被诊断为肺癌,多次进出医院使用抗癌剂治疗。在结束第4次化疗之后。9号早晨回到家中休养, 没想到当天下午就恶化。在临走之前,他的妻子和女儿、儿子三人一直陪在他身边。井上麻矢说:“他能够在家人陪伴之下离开已经很幸福了。”



  井上廈把藏書捐贈給家鄉,建立了一個「遲筆 堂文庫」。那裏懸掛覑他的手舻:「難的要寫淺,淺的要寫深,深的要寫得有趣,有趣的要認真寫。」因為有拖稿的怪癖,總是讓編輯或演員等米下鍋,所以他給自 己起了「遲筆堂」的筆名。還曾想改用電腦,但好像終未實行。他的字很耐看,有一種童趣。


2010-01-18 10:56:03 来自: 草々




































总统,有关金刚怪兽(King Kong)的电影也在美国上映了。




























2010年11月4日 星期四

安藤忠雄氏らに文化勲章 功労者は王貞治氏ら



 〈文化勲章の安藤忠雄さん〉 「喜びと責任の間で緊張感を覚える」と神妙に語る一方で、「大阪人としては(文化勲章を)いただけるというのなら、いただきたいということです」。ひょうひょうと口にするのがこの人らしい。

 プロボクサーから転じ、独学で1969年に設計事務所を設立。手がけた建物は世界で300を超える。出世作の「住吉の長屋」(76年)には冷暖房はな く、冬は寒い。快適さだけを無自覚に求める時代にあらがうように「真の豊かさを考えて生きよう」と訴えた。「考える力」を重んじる原点は今も変わらない。


安藤忠雄氏らに文化勲章 功労者は王貞治氏ら













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 〈文化勲章の三宅一生さん〉 受章の感想よりも、新たに手がけた服のブランドやデザイン展示スペースの話に熱が入る。「環境や資源など課題のある時代 に、視点を変えて何かをしなくては」と始めた仕事だからだ。協力を仰ぐ国内の物作りの現場の疲弊ぶりにも改めて直面している。「今回の勲章が、そういう場 で絶望的になりかけている人たちへの励ましになれば」と語る。



政府は26日、建築家の安藤忠雄氏(69)、演出家の蜷川(にながわ)幸雄氏(75)ら7人に文化勲章を贈ることを決めた。文化功労者には元プロ野球選 手の王貞治氏(70)、俳優の吉永小百合氏(65)=本名・岡田小百合=ら17人が選ばれた。文化勲章の親授式は11月3日に皇居で、文化功労者の顕彰式 は同4日に東京・虎ノ門のホテルオークラで行われる。  文化勲章で、演劇の演出家の受章は蜷川氏が初めて。ほかに受けるのは元文部相で原子核物理学の有馬朗人(あきと、80)、今年のノーベル化学賞に決まっ た北海道大名誉教授の鈴木章(80)と米パデュー大特別教授の根岸英一(75)、服飾デザイナーの三宅一生(72)、日本中世史の脇田晴子(76)の各 氏。鈴木・根岸の両氏は文化功労者にも選ばれた。  文化功労者はほかに、指揮者の大野和士(50)、歌舞伎俳優の市川猿之助(70)=本名・喜熨斗政彦(きのし・まさひこ)=、環境リスク管理学の中西準 子(72)、日本近世文学の中野三敏(74)、詩人の中村稔(83)、漫画家の水木しげる(88)=本名・武良茂(むら・しげる)=、ヒトの人工多能性幹 細胞(iPS細胞)の作製に成功した京都大iPS細胞研究所長の山中伸弥(48)の各氏らも選ばれた。  文化功労者には350万円の終身年金が支給される。


Japan's Auto Parts Makers Try to Anticipate Shift to Electric Cars

Japan's Auto Parts Makers Try to Anticipate Shift to Electric Cars
New York Times
Sooner or, more likely, later the electric car could render thousands of companies superfluous here in the heart of Japan's auto parts region. ...

2010年11月3日 星期三

Peko-chan /Tezuka's notebooks

Manga artist Tezuka's notebooks



photoA Peko-chan robot, created to mark the mascot's 60th anniversary, is on display at Fujiya's Peko-chan Museum in Tokyo's Ginza district. (Photo by Tomohiro Hamada/ The Asahi Shimbun)

Fujiya Co. on Monday marked the 60th anniversary of the creation of its mascot "Peko-chan" with a new exhibit featuring early models of Peko-chan mannequins and a robot that dances and sings.

Through Nov. 21, the Peko-chan Museum in Tokyo's Ginza district will showcase mannequins of the eternal candy-loving 6-year-old girl that have stood in front of Fujiya shops around the country for six decades. Other Peko-chan-related products are also on display.

A new Peko-chan robot on display at the museum can sing the Fujiya theme song about its trademark Milky-brand toffees and answer questions using 357 programmed responses.

If asked, "Tell me your secret, Peko-chan," she replies with her height, but adds saucily: "I can't tell you how much I weigh. It's a secret!"

The robot is much heavier than the familiar mannequins at Fujiya outlets.

2010年11月1日 星期一

New Headache for Japan Auto Makers /Russia Angers Japan With Visit to Disputed Islands

New Headache for Japan Auto Makers as Domestic Sales Tumble
Wall Street Journal
By YOSHIO TAKAHASHI TOKYO—Japan's auto sales marked their biggest on-year drop in 18 months in October after the expiry of government buying incentives in ...

Russia Angers Japan With Visit to Disputed Islands
New York Times
By ELLEN BARRY MOSCOW — President Dmitri A. Medvedev on Monday flew into the Kuril Islands, which the Soviet Union seized from Japan at the end of World ...

MOSCOW — President Dmitri A. Medvedev flew on Monday into the south Kuril Islands, which the Soviet Union seized from Japan at the end of World War II, making it clear that Russia has no plans to cede the mineral-rich territory despite Japanese protests.

Mr. Medvedev is the first Russian president to visit one of the disputed Kuril islands. The four islands lie between the Japanese island of Hokkaido and the rest of the Kuril archipelago, which is Russian territory.

The four islands are sparsely populated but grant access to prize fisheries and promising oil and gas fields. Touring day-care centers and family homes, Mr. Medvedev told residents that Russia will invest heavily to raise living standards on the islands.

“We want people to remain here,” he said at one stop. “Development here is important. We will definitely be investing money here.”

The trip immediately aggravated relations with Japan, which has long demanded that Russia return the islands. Foreign Minister Seiji Maihara said Mr. Medvedev’s presence “injures the feelings of the population of Japan,” and summoned Russia’s ambassador to deliver a note of protest.

Japanese leaders warned Russia in September that such a visit would damage bilateral relations.

Tokyo is already locked in a tense dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea. In September, its coast guard detained the captain of a Chinese fishing boat that collided with two of its vessels. The arrest sparked anti-Japanese protests in China, which is acutely sensitive about threats to its sovereignty.

Japanese authorities have sought to calm emotions, but opposition lawmakers want to release videotape of the collision, which they believe shows that that the Chinese captain was at fault.

Russian officials responded angrily to the Japanese complaints on Monday. Mikhail Margelov, head of the Federation Council’s international affairs committee, called the protests “absurd, to say the least.”

“It is important that all our Japanese neighbors and all our partners understand that talking with Russia from a threatening position is pointless,” Mr. Margelov told the Interfax news service. “Our stance cannot be changed by pressure. I am sincerely hoping that wisdom will return to Japanese political practices.”

But Mr. Medvedev’s visit to the disputed territory will convey a clear message domestically in a country increasingly focused on the 2012 presidential elections.

Mr. Medvedev is generally viewed as milder and more liberal than his mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, but he has taken a tough line on territorial disputes and chose to go to war with Georgia over the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia. In the 1956 declaration that reestablished ties between Russia and Japan, Russia offered to return two of the four islands after the two countries signed a peace treaty. But Japan rejected that compromise, maintaining that all four islands should be returned, and no treaty has ever been signed.

Russia’s foothold in the Kurils weakened in the 1990s, when Moscow drew down its military presence on the islands and many Russian settlers left for the mainland.

The far east carries “huge” economic importance to Russia now, both because of its oil and gas reserves and transport links to Asian markets, said Elgena V. Molodyakova, an expert on the region at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“For us, the Kuril problem is how to develop the region,” she said. “For the Japanese, the Kuril problem is a territorial dispute that can agitate their society. If they take a hard line on this, they won’t succeed.”