Sunday, September 4, 2011

3-Party Accord

Be forewarned. There are spots in this translation I straight up gave up on. Maybe I will edit it later. The short story is that PM Noda is seeking an agreement with the LDP and Komeito in order to have better cooperation in the Diet. This is not a good translation!

PM Noda proposes a meeting with heads of the LDP and Komeito to create a 3 party mutual understanding accord

New PM Noda sought meetings with LDP President Tanigaki Sadakazu and New Komeito representative Yamaguchi Natsuo to communicate his idea for an accord between the three parties that included a review of the DPJ Manifest and fortified his desired idea for cooperation in policy discussions and diet operations. Upon his seperate meetings with the two politicians on the first, he will launch his plan for the new cabinet on the second. Changes to the new cabinet include, former party policy research chairman Jojima Koriki, and New Komeito member Jimi Shozaburo has been reappointed as Finance and Postal reform Minister.

National Diet Strategy Committee Chairman Hirano Hirofumi (DPJ) called for a meeting between LDP member Aisawa Ichiro and Komeito member Urushibara Yoshio on the 31st. At the secretary-general meeting with DPJ secretary-general Koshiishi Azuma on the first, if the 3 party accord is the plan accepted during the party leader conference than the LDP promised to implement it.

In the middle of August before PM Noda accepted the prime ministership, the LDP and Komeito indicated their idea to call for a grand coalition but the DPJ leadership stated in regard to this conference of party leaders that "rather than a grand coalition we appeal for cooperation in the Diet before the formation of a new cabinet". With the LDP and Komeito's idea sought during the early stages of the extraordinary session of the Diet, concerning the National Diet management cooperation Noda's administration's move is made sure of.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two New Translations

I started this translation before the actual election for a new PM took place, but I got distracted/it took me longer than expected. Noda ended up winning and maybe I will talk a little bit about it later. Suffice to say, no one mentioned anything at work about their being a new PM.

DPJ mainstays and young members endorse Maehara, Kaeda represents Ozawa-faction core

On the DPJ election bulletin from the 27th, the 5 announced candidates presented 20-25 names of DPJ members endorsing their candidacies.

Former foreign minister Maehara received endorsements from 24 members. Maehara's group within the DPJ, the Ryouunkai, occupied a majority of the spots. Some of the backbone and young member names that stood out are: Hosono Koji, Furukawa Motohisa, Komiyama Yoko, and Watanabe Shu.

Mabuchi Sumio (former Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation) received 20 endorsements. Mabuchi gathered 13 votes from lower house members including Taki Makoto and party members from around the Nara area. He also recieved 4 votes from members close to former representative Ozawa Ichiro, House of Concillors member Martti Turunen, and Yokomine Yoshiro.

Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Kaeda Banri received support from 25 members close to Ozawa Ichiro after Ichiro announced his support for Kaeda on the 26th. With Ozawa's coordination of Kaeda's announcing of his candidacy, former Minister of the Environment Ozawa Sakihito, former Minister of Forestry, Agriculture and Fisheries Akamatsu Hirotaka of the ex-Socialist Party group, and former Deputy Director of the Government Secretariat Matsuno Yorihisa also lined up in support of Kaeda.

Minister of Finance Noda Yoshihiko recieved 25 votes of support from his and Prime Ministerial aide Renho's group the Kasei Group. From Naoto Kan's group, Former Minister of National Strategy Arai Satoshi, DPJ Secretary-General Okada, Vice-Chair of the Committee of Diet Strategy Nakagawa Masaharu, and members close to Chairman of Party Policy Genba Koichiro joined in support of Noda.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Kano Michihiko received support from 25 party members. Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Tsutsui Nobutaka and other members well acquainted with agricultural policy gathered in support of Kano. From Hatoyama's group, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation Ohata Akihiro, Budget committee of the Upper House of the Diet Maeda Takeshi from the Haneda group,and other members with long political histories supported Kano.

The next article is from today. I picked it because it was short! High school student finds a 5-inch American unexploded ordnance. Don't worry, no one was evacuated!

High School Student digs up Unexploded Ordnance in Okinawa "Is it some kind of part?"

Around 7 p.m. on August 30th next to Okinawa Prefecture, Yaese-cho's Kochinda Athletic Park, a male first year high school student (16) found a 13cm diameter, 40 cm in length unexploded ordnance and called the police emerbency tip board. Because it was liable to explode if a fuse was affixed, the Japanese Self Defense Force carried out an emergency collection of the ordnance at 9 p.m. that evening. There was no evacuation of residents and no injuries occured.

According to the prefectural police, the ordnance was a American-manufactured 5-inch shell. Half of the shell was buried. The student dug the ordnance up by hand and carried it about 15 meters away to show his friends at the nearby soccer field, then they reported it to police. The student said "I thought I had dug up some kind of part or accessory".

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Proposed renewable energy and agriculture research site in Fukushima

This is an article I translated from Asahi. I am going to be not cool on my blog and start posting translations of stories I come across. These are by no means official or free of flaws.

Here is the link to the Japanese:

Here is the English:
A plan to make Nishigo-mura and Shimogou-chou in southern Fukushima Prefecture into a research and development base by 20 companies including Toshiba and Panasonic in order to research fields such as renewable/green energy,  agriculture, and social welfare etc. has been made public.  The goal of this plan is to bring economic recovery to the  troubled Fukushima prefecture by introducing and supporting new businesses in the area.

Both towns are advancing the plan which uses 50-100 hectares of  government land in Nishigo-mura as the primary site. If the  no-interest loan purchase of the land is accepted maintenance work will begin within the year. Also, both towns have begun  applying for status as a "special reconstruction area" within the year.

If the area recieves that designation, it will get favorable  treatment in the form of tax reductions and relaxation of  certain regulations.The area is near the Tohoku Shirokawa Interchange, Shin-Shirokawa Shinkansen Station and has good  access to Tokyo. According to AT Kearney Consulting, who are promoting the plan, approximately 20 companies have expressed their intention to take part in the plan.

End Translation

Here is a translation of some of the stuff on the map in the article:

The area shaded in red is the proposed area.

Involved fields and companies:
Renewable energy - Toshiba
(I am not sure what the technical term for it is) Indoor Agriculture/Farming - Marubeni, Spread?
Logistics/Transportation Center - Kokubu
介護、福祉、観光 (パナソニック、ニチイ学館、セントケア)
Nursing/Care, Social Welfare, Tourism - Panasonic, Nichii Gakkan, Saint Care
City Infrastructure, Finance (East Japan NTT, Arup)
Facilities Management

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oh Kevin Maher

Probably about 6 months ago when I returned to Japan, I remember turning on the TV to some news about Okinawa, only to see a somewhat familiar face on the TV. One, Kevin Maher. Again, tonight I come home with some take out, turn on the news and lo-and-behold it is Kevin Maher, this time he is not a passing figure in the background, but front and center.

It seems Mr. Maher, in a little lecture to some students from American University in D.C. slipped up big time and basically called Okinawans masters of extortion directed towards Tokyo. I will not get into the rough and tumble details of Okinawa and US bases because that is a pretty time consuming task. Instead I just want to put forth my lack of surprise.

I was in some little, I don't know what to call it, I think there was a joke I used to make at the small NGO I worked at in D.C. about all the different things you called call a discussion with a guest speaker. Since there were always ones going on throughout D.C. it seemed necessary to drum up some creative synonyms. Anyways, I was at a discussion at Johns Hopkins SAIS in D.C. with a DPJ member as the guest and Mr. Maher was present. I don't think it would be right for me to go into detail about this discussion, as it was off-the-record and the notes I had for it are on my old computer which is not starting...but saved on a disk drive in the states. I will say that Mr. Maher and said DPJ representative got into a discussion about a more equal US-Japan relationship that was not heated, but definitely not what I would term "diplomatic" or particularly productive on Mr. Maher's side. So when the taker of the notes that have appeared on the nightly news said he did not think Mr. Maher's comments were very diplomatic - I was not shocked in the least. I think I laughed.

The first time I saw him on TV six months ago, I remember hitting up the local bar and talking to the owner, saying something along the lines of "Why does a guy who seems so frustrated about the contents of his job, doing his job." Maybe that will not be for much longer.

Here is a link to the story in Japanese:

Update: Looks like Kevin Maher is being replaced -

Friday, January 28, 2011

Brief Thoughts

Mr. Obama, its not a Sputnik. 

And the NYT doesn't like Japan today, I left a little comment on their "In Japan, Young Face Generational Roadblocks" article. It wasn't a terrible article but it has the usual NYT feel aimed at Japan - by that I mean amateurish and predictable. I usually would hope better from probably the world's most important (maybe) newspaper.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Its not a Sputnik.

I just don't get it. I mean, I totally get it but it doesn't make it any better.

Its not Sputnik. I am talking about how everything involved with China that seems somewhat threatening to American dominance is suddenly of Sputnik caliber. I understand the metaphor. Sputnik served as a call to action that solidified American will to stand up and compete with the Soviet Union. The massive existential threat to the free world for many decades.

China is not the Soviet Union. Chinese development is not a satellite. Chinese students are also not satellites. You can make the logical leap with the metaphor, but why would you want to make that metaphor? Its like, remember the Cold War? Remember all the fear? Let's do that again. Let's have that be our rallying cry!

Live in fear of the eastern menace! Yar!

Give me a break, first it started (ok, it actually started a long time ago if you read my other Sputnik entry, but with a different country) with the PISA results, carried on to some articles and opinion columns in the NYT and now it happens again in an article talking about similarities between China-US economic issues now and US-Japan economic issues of over 20 years ago.

What is just as tasteless in the recent NYT article is entitled "Maybe Japan Was Just a Warm-Up to the Rivalry with China" . That is all Japan was, a warm-up to some other threat in the East. At the end of the article it brings the ridiculous Sputnik analogy up again. It just oozes of nationalist, confrontational rhetoric. We are in a battle or match and we needed to warm-up. But now we are ready to hit the field and crack some skulls. Booya.

I make you feel bad...

I went into Starbucks today, got a mocha and sat down in a big poofy blue chair. Next to me were these two girls who were probably in high school. Upon sitting down, there is a quick silence (I'm listening to my iPod at the time) and then some giggling. One of the girls said to the other - ”もっと英語を勉強したらいいねー” or something like that, which translates to "It would have been nice if I studied English more". 

I don't know what we would have talked about in pretend 'her having studied more English world' but I'm glad when I sit next down to random people I immediately make them feel insufficient. Great.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Failing at Food

I'm not a total failure at food/cooking, but I am far from a success.

Tonight's dinner was not terrible, but the slightly edible kinoko rice from yesterday was even more so slightly edible today. Oh well. I blame my rice cooker, maybe.

In general I find it slightly difficult to make food for myself alone. At least I know my Nanban Chicken is still pretty baller...

I got back from a long vacation, maybe I'll talk about it. But today and yesterday I felt violently thrust back into my normal life and it has been a bit jarring and honestly kind of lonely. But, I still want to keep on for awhile despite this sudden depression.