2010年10月28日 星期四

'Nebuta' floats light up Meiji Shrine celebration

Green tea float

'Nebuta' floats light up Meiji Shrine celebration



photoRyusei Uchiyama, a master "nebuta" craftsman from Aomori, works on a float at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward. (Photo by Keisuke Tanaka/ The Asahi Shimbun)

Several nebuta floats from Aomori Prefecture have traveled to Tokyo to help celebrate a venerable shrine's 90th anniversary of its founding.

Float crafters from the northern Honshu prefecture are busy reassembling four of the colorful paper-and-wood floats at Tokyo's Meiji Shrine, which was formally dedicated in 1920. Each float will be lit from the inside.

The four were featured in this summer's Aomori Nebuta Festival, Hirosaki Neputa Festival, Goshogawara Tachi-Neputa Festival and Hachinohe Sansha Taisai grand festival.

They will be on display in the Shibuya Ward shrine's precincts from Saturday to Monday, Nov. 1, the founding day of the shrine.

The float from the Aomori festival will be paraded about 1 kilometer from the shrine down Omotesando street to Aoyama-dori starting at 5:45 p.m. Monday. The procession will include the region's festive haneto dancers backed by hayashi musicians in a small-scale re-enactment of the vibrant and spectacular evening festival that draws raucous crowds each summer in Aomori.

The Aomori float, which stretches 9 meters wide, 7 meters long and 4.8 meters tall, was dismantled and brought to Tokyo by truck. It is being rebuilt by six nebuta float craftsmen from Aomori, including Ryusei Uchiyama, 48.

The Aomori and Hirosaki floats will be displayed in front of the shrine's torii gate, while the Hachinohe Sansha and Goshogawara floats will be in the Dai-ichi parking lot.

The idea of participating in the Meiji Shrine's anniversary event was proposed by Aomori Prefecture officials ahead of December's extension of the Tohoku Shinkansen line to Aomori.

The Shinto shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken.

2010年10月27日 星期三

日本橋の老舗、にぎわい再生へ挑む 若者向け新店や実演

日本橋の老舗、にぎわい再生へ挑む 若者向け新店や実演






 かつお節一筋の同社だが、本店を訪れる客は高齢者に偏っていた。総合企画部次長の杉井剛さん(55)は「健康志向の若い女性がターゲット」。メニュー は、削りたてのかつお節をかけたご飯やだしをきかせた汁物。気軽に入れるバーのようにと、店名は「日本橋だし場(バー)」にした。


 今は少ない海外からの観光客にも期待する。社員の中山英俊さん(39)は、根付け師と組んだ作品がフランスやロシアで紹介されるなど、ナイフアーティス トとして海外でも知られる。本店で作品を展示即売するとともに、中山さんが定期的に接客して「日本の刃物」を広める計画だ。






 〈日本橋〉 江戸幕府が開かれた1603(慶長8)年に完成し、五街道の起点となった。江戸時代は「三井越後屋呉服店(現・三越)」や「白木屋(現・東 急百貨店)」が生まれ、一帯は日本の経済の中心だった。石造アーチの現在の橋は1911(明治44)年の完成。東京五輪前には橋と交差する形で首都高速道 路がつくられた。地元など複数の街づくり団体が現在、首都高の移転を求めて活動している。

2010年10月26日 星期二

Wounded DPJ pressing kingpin Ozawa to testify in Diet



photoNaoto Kan's DPJ, after losing a by-election, is urging Ichiro Ozawa, right, to explain his scandal in the Diet. (Photos by The Asahi Shimbun)

Following its defeat in Sunday's Lower House by-election in Hokkaido, the ruling Democratic Party of Japan is increasing pressure on party bigwig Ichiro Ozawa to testify in the Diet about his political fund scandal.

The DPJ is urging Ozawa, its former president, to appear at the Lower House's Deliberative Council on Political Ethics to ensure passage of crucial legislation related to the fiscal 2010 supplementary budget aimed at shoring up the faltering economy.

Opposition parties have demanded that Ozawa testify in the Diet.

Although the DPJ holds a majority in the Lower House, the coalition government lost its majority in the Upper House in July and needs cooperation from the opposition to pass the bills.

The DPJ is seeking cooperation from New Komeito in passing the supplementary budget at the Diet.

With the economy still sputtering, Prime Minister Naoto Kan's administration wants to start Diet deliberations on the supplementary budget bill as soon as possible instead of spending time arguing about Ozawa's legal problems.

"While (Ozawa) would have to decide himself, the supplementary budget is very important, and I think that of course he will keep that in mind in deciding (whether to appear at the political ethics council)," DPJ Secretary-General Katsuya Okada told reporters Sunday morning.

Okada also indicated he would discuss the issue with Ozawa.

Three of Ozawa's former aides have been indicted on charges of falsifying reports of his political fund management organization. Ozawa has denied any involvement in the scandal. But a prosecution inquest panel twice decided that Ozawa should be prosecuted, meaning he will automatically be indicted.

The "money and politics" issue was at the center of Sunday's by-election in the Hokkaido No. 5 district, which was called after a DPJ Lower House member resigned to take responsibility for illegal contributions to her campaign in summer 2009.

Former Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura, who heads the largest faction in the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, defeated four candidates, including Shigeyuki Nakamae, 38, a former bureaucrat backed by the DPJ.

Shu Watanabe, chairman of the DPJ's Election Campaign Committee, told reporters Sunday night, "The money and politics issue is of course among the factors for our defeat."

A DPJ leader close to Kan was more specific: "We can say we lost because of Mr. Ozawa."

However, members of the Ozawa group within the DPJ, senior DPJ lawmakers in the Upper House and others oppose the idea of Ozawa testifying in the Diet.

Ozawa was quoted recently as saying defiantly: "Who will come to me (to ask me to appear before the Diet)? Does anybody have the guts?"

But Ozawa has repeatedly said he will "obey a decision by the Diet." One of his aides said Ozawa would have to consider attending the council "if Diet deliberations on the supplementary budget bill are stalled."

The supplementary budget bill will be submitted to the Diet on Friday.

The DPJ is also seeking cooperation with New Komeito in passing the fiscal 2011 budget bill, which will be sent to the Diet early next year.

Ozawa is not the only scandal-hit party bigwig affected by the DPJ's loss in the by-election. The LDP is expected to look into the political fund scandal of former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, sources said.

The biggest task for the LDP is maintaining unity with other opposition parties.

The LDP's preferred scenario is to vote against bills related to the fiscal 2011 budget next year in the Upper House to force a dissolution of the Lower House and a snap election. However, New Komeito prefers devoting its energy to campaigns for the nationwide local government elections slated for next spring.

Referring to the election outcome in Hokkaido, New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi told reporters Sunday night, "A severe judgment was handed down on the DPJ's lack of enthusiasm toward the money and politics issue."

He declined to specify his party's plans concerning the supplementary budget, saying, "We'd like to decide after examining what the ruling parties will do and listening to the people."

Subway reaps 1st harvest from in-store 'lettuce lab'

Subway reaps 1st harvest from in-store 'lettuce lab'



photoA Subway Yasai Lab staff harvests a head of lettuce from its in-store garden. (Photo by Kaname Kakuta/ The Asahi Shimbun)

A Subway Japan sandwich shop in central Tokyo has harvested its first batch of lettuce grown at its in-store hydroponic lab.

At Subway Japan Inc.'s Yasai Lab (vegetable lab) branch in the Marunouchi Building in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, lettuce planted several weeks ago is now being served. The store hopes to harvest 10 heads of lettuce every week to be used in its sandwiches.

Subway Japan aims to secure a stable supply of fresh vegetables amid a climate of rising vegetable prices.

The pesticide-free lettuce is grown hydroponically at a station in the center of the shop. Customers can view the vegetables as they grow.

It takes six to seven weeks to harvest lettuce planted from seed. Ten heads are enough to fill 40 to 50 sandwiches.

The store plans to announce harvest times one or two days in advance online via Twitter. The Twitter message will include a keyword that customers can use to request that freshly harvested lettuce in their sandwiches on a first-come, first-served basis, at no extra charge.

Subway Japan's Yasai Lab Marunouchi Building branch opened in July.

2010年10月20日 星期三

Japan empress, 76, empathizes with graying nation

Japan empress, 76, empathizes with graying nation

Japan's Emperor Akihito (L) and Empress Michiko look at phoenix statues at a garden of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo October 1, 2010 in this handout photo released by the Imperial Household Agency of Japan. REUTERS/Imperial Household Agency of Japan/Handout

TOKYO | Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:46am EDT

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - Japan's Empress Michiko turned 76 on Wednesday and, in sentiments likely to strike a chord with many in her rapidly graying nation, confessed to occasional forgetfulness and increasing physical slowness.

Despite being diagnosed with an asthma variant earlier this year, the Empress said her health was generally good but that she could feel herself taking longer to do things.

"I also often experience symptoms that seem to be caused by aging, such as not being able to find what I am looking for. I find these incidents amusing at times, but I also feel a bit helpless," she said in a statement.

"To strike the right balance between being aware of, and accepting the fact that one declines with age both in body and mind on the one hand, and not being overly sensitive to aging, is not easy."

The Japanese government expects over a quarter of its 127 million citizens to be aged over 65 by 2015. It is home to an estimated 41,000 centenarians, and its women have held the record for the world's longest life expectancy for 25 years.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Alex Richardson)

2010年10月16日 星期六

Japan Scrambles for Rare Earth

Japan Scrambles for Rare Earth
Wall Street Journal
Alarmed by China's move to cut shipments of critical metals used by high-tech companies and auto makers, Japan is scrambling to find alternative supplies, ...

Japan upgrades Haneda airport

Japan upgrades Haneda airport

TOKYO — The full-fledged opening of Tokyo's Haneda airport to international flights will bring more foreign travellers, the transport minister said Saturday as Japan pushes ahead with efforts to promote tourism.

"I believe more foreign travellers will visit regional cities via Haneda by using extensive domestic networks as regular international flights start," Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Sumio Mabuchi said.

"I hope this will lead to their discovery of new tourist attractions and tourism routes," Mabuchi told a ceremony at Haneda celebrating the completion of a fourth runway and a gleaming new terminal that is to open Thursday.

Haneda is to begin handling regular extensive international flights this month after a three-decade break, as Japan ties to fend off competition from rising Asian rivals and make tourism one of driving forces of the country's future growth.

The airport is currently limited to domestic flights and a limited number of flights to and from a few East Asian cities, leaving it in the shadow of the larger Narita international airport outside the capital.

Haneda is far more convenient for travellers, being located a mere 20 minute monorail ride from the heart of Tokyo. It takes more than double the time to reach Narita, which is located 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Tokyo.

2010年10月12日 星期二

Japan: No Improvement in China Rare Earths Ban

Japan: No Improvement in China Rare Earths Ban

Japanese minister says China rare earth de facto export ban persists, urges improvement

Japanese officials said Tuesday they have not seen any easing of China's de facto ban on exports of rare earth minerals — crucial for advanced manufacturing — despite a thaw in tensions over a territorial row between the two Asian powers.

China has denied that it has halted exports of the materials. But Japanese companies have said shipments of rare earths have virtually stopped since around Sept. 21, held up at Chinese ports by increased paperwork and inspections.

"The reality is, the situation has not at all returned to normal," trade and industry minister Akihiro Ohata told reporters Tuesday. Ohata said he is considering sending senior trade officials to Beijing for talks if the problem persists.

China produces 97 percent of the global supply of rare earths. To cope with growing demand at home, China has been reducing export quotas of rare earths over the past several years, causing concern about the minerals' supply long before September's restrictions to Japan.

Shaken by the potential threat of supply disruptions to its manufacturers, Japan is considering becoming a global center for rare earth recycling and is partnering with Mongolia to develop new rare earth mines.

The halt to shipments happened after Japan's Sept. 8 arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain whose trawler collided with two Japanese patrol vessels near disputed islands in the East China Sea.

According to a government survey of companies taken Oct. 8-11, Japanese importers of rare earth materials from China said shipments continued to stall over the weekend.

The survey found that shipments of other Chinese raw materials had also been stuck in China, but with some companies reporting that those goods are starting to flow again.

Japanese officials said they could not immediately link the problem of rare earth shipment to the recent diplomatic row.

But if China is found to be taking discriminatory actions against Japanese companies, Tokyo may take the case to the World Trade Organization, officials have said.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



日本央行(Bank of Japan)週二早間發佈公告稱﹐為了遏制日圓升勢、促進經濟增長﹐央行決定將政策利率從已經很接近零的水平下調至更接近於零的水平。




獨立諮詢機構Capital Economics的Mark Williams稱﹐市場反應不大的主要原因是央行的最新計劃基本上只是恢復了之前的一些資產購買計劃﹐把它們合併到了一起。在對抗通貨緊縮方面﹐日本央行一向有所保留﹐該行提高通貨膨脹的承諾一直不足以令人信服。


但這也是一個問題﹐因為日本央行已經在進行國債貨幣化﹐而日本的債務規模又極其龐大。國際貨幣基金組織(International Monetary Fund)的最近預測顯示﹐今年日本政府淨債務與國內生產總值(GDP)之比將達到122%﹐總債務與GDP之比更是將達到令人吃驚的227%。但更令人擔心的是﹐在未來十年的大部分時間中﹐日本政府結構性赤字佔GDP的比重將達到7.25%左右。





Alen Mattich

2010年10月11日 星期一

Japan creating 'smart city' of the future

Japan creating 'smart city' of the future

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/10/10/BUFK1FPLCU.DTL#ixzz123HlLS4L

(10-11) 04:00 PDT Chiba, Japan -- There were gadgets and robots galore at Japan's premier electronics show last week. But one of the biggest attractions wasn't anything you could touch - an energy-efficient city of the future.

For the first time, the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies, better known as CEATAC, devoted one area of the show floor to selling a vision of urban life in 2020 and beyond.

'Smart city'

The Japanese version of the "smart city" exists in a post-fossil fuel world. Alternative sources like the sun, wind and nuclear power are harnessed in mass quantities. That power is then distributed to buildings, homes and electric cars connected to each other through smart grids, which monitor energy use throughout the network to maximize efficiency.

The goal is to drastically cut carbon emissions, which many scientists believe cause global warming - ideally to zero. The bigger dream is for the smart city to become Japan's next big export, fueling new growth and ambition at a time when the country finds itself in an economic rut and eclipsed by China as the world's second-biggest economy behind the United States.

The city of Yokohama, just southwest of Tokyo, is the site of a social and infrastructure experiment to create a smart city for the rest of the world to emulate. Begun this year, the Yokohama Smart City Project is a five-year pilot program with a consortium of seven Japanese companies - Nissan Motor Co., Panasonic Corp., Toshiba Corp., Tokyo Electric Power Co., Tokyo Gas Co., Accenture's Japan unit and Meidensha Corp.

"We want to build a social model to take overseas," said Masato Nobutoki, the executive director of Yokohama's Climate Change Policy Headquarters, during a keynote event at CEATAC. "Yokohama is a place where foreign cultures entered Japan 150 years ago and then spread to the rest of the country."

Now, he said, it's where the best of Japan is converging, preparing for expansion to the wider world.

Japan is not alone

Japan certainly isn't the only country working on smart grids.

Australia has committed $100 million and is developing its first commercial-scale smart grid in Newcastle, a city in New South Wales state. South Korea is embarking on a $200 billion smart grid project on Jeju Island as part of efforts to cut national energy consumption by 3 percent by 2030. China is expected to invest a world-leading $7.3 billion toward smart grids and related technologies this year, ahead of the United States' $7.1 billion in Energy Department grants, according to market research firm Zpryme.

Zpryme estimates that the global smart grid market will be worth $171.4 billion in four years, up sharply from $69.3 billion in 2009.

Also last week, Toyota Motor Corp. separately announced the introduction of its own home smart grid system in Japan to coincide with its plug-in hybrid cars going on sale in early 2012.

Smart use of energy

Called the Toyota Smart Center, it calculates the most efficient way of using energy, eliminating waste by shutting off gadgets when they aren't being used and taking advantage of the recharging benefits of hybrids, which recharge as they run. If it's all a little hard to imagine, Nissan was offering a peek into the future at CEATAC. The centerpiece of the automaker's pavilion was a 3-D theater with a 275-inch screen giving viewers a virtual-reality drive through Yokohama in the near future. The virtual city tour will be replicated for leaders from around Asia when they gather in Yokohama next month for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings.

"We need to turn talk into reality," said Minoru Shinohara, senior vice president for technology development at Nissan, which will begin selling its Leaf electric car in December.

"If all we do is talk, I have a great fear that we will be surpassed," said Shinohara.

This article appeared on page D - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/10/10/BUFK1FPLCU.DTL#ixzz123Hg49sS

2010年10月10日 星期日

Government Revitalization Minister Renho apologizes for modeling inside Diet

FILE - in this June 8, 2010 file photo, new Administrative Reform Minister Renho arrives at the attestation ceremony for Japan's incoming Prime Minister Naoto Kan's Cabinet at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The photogenic Japanese minister, now government revitalization minister, has come under fire for posing for a popular fashion magazine at a wrong place: inside parliament. Renho, a TV personality-turned popular lawmaker, appears in the Japanese version of Vogue, that hit stores Sept. 28, posing in designer dresses in photos shot inside the upper house. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)

Japan minister apologizes for modeling inside Diet

TOKYO — A Japanese Cabinet minister apologized Friday for posing inside parliament for high-fashion photographs that opposition conservatives criticized as extravagant and a possible breach of rules.

The six-page spread in November's Vogue Nippon shows Government Revitalization Minister Renho wearing designer dresses in photos taken inside the Diet building this summer.

"If the location of the photo shoot was inappropriate or has caused concerns, that was not my intention," Renho told a televised news conference Friday. "I apologize straightforwardly."

Renho, who uses just one name, said her intention was to get more people interested in politics and that she obtained permission for the photo session from the secretariat of the upper house, of which she is a member.

However, the way she appeared in the magazine "does not seem to fit the claimed purpose," an upper house spokesman said on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue. "The problem is how she is presented."

Photography inside parliament is permitted only for activities related to parliamentary affairs, and personal advertising and commercial activities are not allowed, he said.

The upper house rules and administration committee is still investigating if Renho breached regulations and should be punished. The official said the committee is also considering tightening parliamentary photography guidelines.

"It's outrageous that a minister who has boasted of taking the people's perspective and eliminating wasteful use of their tax money is wearing such (expensive) dresses," opposition lawmaker Ichita Yamamoto said.

Renho was also verbally reprimanded by senior members of her own party, said Yuichiro Hata, parliamentary affairs chairman for the ruling Democratic Party.

In one photo, she stands against a marble railing, dressed in a white jacket with a big collar, a white mini skirt and black boots — all from Valentino, with the price of each item listed on the same page and totaling more than 1.31 million yen ($16,000.)

In another photo, she is wearing a Giorgio Armani red jacket and a black skirt priced at 294,000 yen ($3,585) and 378,000 yen ($4,600) respectively.

The Japanese offices of Vogue declined to comment.

A second-term lawmaker in the upper house, Renho won a reputation for toughness by grilling bureaucrats during televised showdowns over government-funded projects seen as money-wasters, and became the youngest member of the Cabinet.

While at college in Tokyo, she won a contract to model in ads for an audio company. She then appeared in TV variety shows and became a talk show host and newscaster. She moved to Beijing to study Chinese in 1995 and was elected to the upper house in 2004.

2010年10月3日 星期日




日本的知事有東西兩強,都有高支持率,一是東 京都知事石原慎太郎,另一是九州宮崎縣知事東國原英夫(見圖,取自網路)。 石原具有充分政治經驗,並以強硬的愛國主義者著名,東國原則以搞笑做秀受到歡迎,2007年1月初次出馬競選宮崎縣知事,便一舉高票當選,但在今年底的縣 知事改選,東國原已正式宣佈「不玩了」。




東 國原以搞笑藝人的做秀本領,07年轉向政界,初戰當選宮崎縣知事,支持率一直維持在8、9成。09年眾議院選舉前,有強烈危機感的自民黨高級幹部,親自登 門向東國原求救,希望他為自民黨轉戰眾院,東國原居然拿喬,提出「必須以黨總裁候選人為前提」的條件,當時果然把日政界「搞笑」了。

據 日本媒體報導,自民黨籍的宮崎縣縣議會議長中村幸一對東國原的評論是,「做秀的手法令人感動」;宮崎縣政府的職員形容他「黃昏5點準時下班,出差在外時, 下午3點就消失蹤影」;當縣府高級職員來訪時,「愛理不理,一副無精打彩的樣子,可是電視攝影機一進場,就立刻精神抖擻」。


東 國原打的如意算盤是,今年12月放棄競選連任,將有充分時間應付明年4月的東京都知事改選,因為石原已表明不尋求連任,可能成為強敵的蓮舫、海江田萬里都 已入閣,以他的高支持率,新的東京都知事非他莫屬。繼而眾院可能在一年內解散,這也是東京都知事以外的選項之一,萬一當不了知事,若能選上眾議員,很可能 就是以後的總理大臣。



英夫帶著宮崎縣特產到京推銷,他一下子叫賣、一下子試吃,吸引路人及媒體圍繞身邊,達到宣傳目的。 (圖片取自日本「時事通信社」網站)







cost-Benefit Analysis of corporate advertising


這種分析方式很早就應用到著名的公司上頭,譬如說約5-6年前日本報紙對於Toyota 汽車公司的「歌功頌德」,換成登廣告的話,約值5億日元。現在2007可能是數倍的「加持」。這或許是良性循環。不過,如同「本益分析」(Cost-Benefit Analysis )說不定忽略很多,公司見報率,更可能是雙面刃,媒體是信息,不過是好是壞難說。

2010年10月2日 星期六


新闻报道 | 2010.10.02




该民族主义团体发言人表示,预计周六将有数千名"反中"民众参与在东京商业区涉谷的抗议活动,此外还将有数千名支持者在日本全国数十个地点散发传 单。该团体指责中国"侵略尖阁群岛"(中国称为钓鱼岛),并抗议中国在最近发生的海上争端中采取强硬路线。在此前的9月29日傍晚,曾有约10辆载有中国 游客的大巴在福冈市政府前遭数辆右翼团体街头宣传车围堵。


中日之间的一系列外交冲突已经持续三周之久,目前似乎有迹象表明,双方立场有所缓和,中日政府官员不断呼吁对方保持克制。中国外交部发言人马朝旭表 示,"希望日方同中方一道,共同维护两国关系大局"。而据日本共同社报道,日本外相前原诚司在10月1日发表演讲,就日中撞船事件表示,力争日中两国制定 防止再度发生此类事件的对策。鉴于首相菅直人和中国国务院总理温家宝都将出席本月4日开幕的亚欧首脑会议,前原期待能重启旨在改善两国关系的高层对话。

不过在领土争议问题上,中日双方仍然丝毫没有退让的迹象。日本首相菅直人在10月1日的施政讲话中再次强调尖阁群岛是日本领土,日本国土交通相兼冲 绳北方担当相马渊澄夫则就日中撞船事件表示,将在该地区附近加强警备。中国则回应称,"钓鱼岛及其附属岛屿自古以来就是中国的固有领土。日方在钓鱼岛海域 非法抓扣中国渔民渔船,并执意履行所谓国内法程序,是荒唐、非法和无效的。"



2010年10月1日 星期五

Japan raises tax on tobacco

Japan raises tax on tobacco

Cannot play media.You do not have the correct version of the flash player. Download the correct version


Japan has raised tax on cigarettes by 40% in an attempt to curb smoking. The move will raise the price of Japan's most popular brand by a third, bringing it closer to prices in the US.

Higher tax may cut demand which means less tax revenues for the government, but smoking kills about 100,000 people a year in Japan.

Roland Buerk reports.