貨物検査法成立 海保と海自の連携を密にせよ


The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 31, 2010)
MSDF should join cargo inspections
貨物検査法成立 海保と海自の連携を密にせよ(5月30日付・読売社説)

The Diet on Friday finally enacted into law a special measures bill to enable inspections of cargo transported on ships to and from North Korea.

Cargo inspection was part of a U.N. Security Council resolution adopted in June last year imposing sanctions on North Korea after Pyongyang carried out a nuclear test despite international disapproval. However, Japan previously did not have a law under which it could conduct cargo inspections, preventing the nation from joining concerted international actions until now.

The establishment of the special measures law solved this legal shortcoming. However, the government should not leave cargo inspection only to the Japan Coast Guard, but should also actively utilize the Maritime Self-Defense Force.

The special measures law authorizes the JCG and customs officials to inspect ships to check whether they are carrying weapons and other banned items. If captains of those ships refuse the inspections, the JCG and customs can order the ships to head for a nearby port.


New law's tortuous path

The special measures bill was initially submitted to the Diet by the Cabinet of former Prime Minister Taro Aso, but was scrapped because the House of Representatives was dissolved for a general election.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama partially revised the bill and resubmitted it to the Diet during its extraordinary session in autumn, but the law's enactment was delayed as the Cabinet placed priority on dealing with other bills.

The legislation governing cargo inspections should have been enacted much earlier.

In addition, the revised bill's contents contained a problem. The bill submitted by the Aso Cabinet stipulated the MSDF would be sent out when it became difficult for the JCG to deal with a case alone. The bill promulgated by the Hatoyama Cabinet deleted this provision in consideration of junior coalition partner the Social Democratic Party, which opposes utilizing the MSDF for cargo inspections.

The government said no obstacles exist for the law's smooth implemention even without the provision, noting the government would be able to dispatch the MSDF when ordering a maritime police action based on the Self-Defense Forces Law.

However, the law's lack of clarity over the MSDF's involvement in the cargo inspection mission could make the government hesitant about sending out the MSDF in times of emergency.

We hope the government will exercise ingenuity in the law's operation by ensuring close coordination between the JCG and the MSDF to enable concerted action.


MSDF strengths needed

Even after making use of the MSDF, there are still many problems that need to be solved to improve the effectiveness of cargo inspections.

In the case of North Korean ships and captains, it appears unlikely they would readily accept cargo inspections and orders to head for a nearby port. There might be a case in which ships masquerading as merchant ships are actually heavily armed. In such a scenario, even if the government dispatches the MSDF by ordering a maritime police action, the MSDF vessels are not allowed to fire even warning shots.

Tension rose on the Korean Peninsula after the March sinking of a South Korean waship that was attributed to North Korea.

During summit talks with South Korean President Lee Myung Bak on Jeju Island in South Korea on Saturday, Hatoyama expressed his intention to actively conduct cargo inspections as the special measures bill was enacted into law the previous day.

From now on, information- and role-sharing with the U.S. and South Korean navies will be extremely important. The MSDF is the organization better equipped to undertake smooth coordination.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 30, 2010)
(2010年5月30日01時34分 読売新聞)


普天間日米合意 混乱の責任は鳩山首相にある

the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station 米軍普天間飛行場 (マリンコーです、Pは黙音で発音されません)


srachai from khonkaen, thailand

The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 30, 2010)
Hatoyama responsible for base relocation chaos
普天間日米合意 混乱の責任は鳩山首相にある(5月29日付・読売社説)

After causing political confusion at home and in the Japan-U.S. relationship, he easily broke his "promise to the people." He apologized but will not take responsibility. These developments show the real nature of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

The Japanese and U.S. governments issued a joint statement that stipulates the Henoko area in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, as the relocation site for the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station, also in the prefecture.

Hatoyama then dismissed Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima from his Cabinet after she refused to sign a Cabinet policy document regarding the base relocation because she opposed the Japan-U.S. agreement. Fukushima was the consumer affairs minister.

Even though she was the leader of a coalition partner of Hatoyama's Democratic Party of Japan-led government, she adamantly refused to approve of the government's relocation plan. It was therefore natural for the prime minister to dismiss her.


Policy U-turn was realistic


The Hatoyama administration made a realistic judgment when it dropped a plan to move the base outside the prefecture, which was unpromising, and instead made a U-turn to a position very close to the previous plan to construct alternative facilities in the coastal area of Henoko.

But it took too much time for the administration to make this change. Residents in Okinawa Prefecture, who had approved the existing plan until last year, turned against it, an indication that very high hurdles remain before the relocation plan can be implemented. In this regard, the relocation issue should not be considered to have returned to the original point. Rather, the situation is worse than it was before the launch of the Hatoyama administration.

The government should make all-out efforts to persuade the Okinawa prefectural government and the Nago municipal government to cooperate to realize the Japan-U.S. agreement.

The joint statement listed eight areas in which measures could be taken to reduce the burdens on the people of Okinawa, such as relocating the training of U.S. forces and U.S. forces and Self-Defense Forces sharing base facilities.

But the statement merely says many of such measures would be considered in accordance with progress made in completing the replacement facilities. It is unclear to what extent the measures can be materialized.

Taking into consideration the SDP's stance opposing the relocation within the prefecture, the government initially was considering not naming Henoko in a government policy document. But with Fukushima's dismissal, the government stipulated Henoko as the relocation site in the document.

It was reasonable that the government did not apply a "double standard." The DPJ wants to avoid losing the support of the SDP in the upcoming House of Councillors election with the departure of the SDP from the ruling coalition. But it is not a good idea to leave national security issues ambiguous in order to win an election.

The SDP maintains such positions as urging that the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty be turned into a peace and friendship treaty and insisting that the SDF is unconstitutional. It was, from the beginning, unreasonable for the DPJ to form a coalition with a party whose policies significantly differ.

Hatoyama has also caused confusion by declaring he was seeking to wean the nation from its dependence on the United States, making the achievement of national security without a permanent U.S. military presence in Japan his pet policy.

The SDP adamantly opposed the relocation of the Futenma base within Okinawa Prefecture but failed to offer any feasible alternatives. The party in this sense cannot escape responsibility over the meandering course that the government took over the issue.


Dissolve coalition with SDP

Confrontation over foreign and security policies will continue as long as Hatoyama maintains the coalition with the SDP. The prime minister must not hesitate to dissolve the coalition with the SDP.

Hatoyama set a self-imposed deadline to settle the Futenma issue by the end of May. He loudly proclaimed that he would obtain consent from the Okinawa prefectural government, all municipal governments concerned in hosting replacement facilities, the United States and the ruling coalition partners. Until recently, he also reiterated he would stake his position on the issue.

But the current situation, in which Hatoyama only obtained consent from the United States--while the prefectural and municipal governments and the SDP opposed the relocation plan--should be deemed a betrayal of his own words.

If the head of the government breaks his promise to the people of the nation, he could end public trust in politics.

Hatoyama apologized at a press conference Friday night for his Cabinet's failure to gain the understanding of the people of Okinawa or the leader of the SDP before making a decision on the Futenma issue, saying he was sorry. He also stressed his pledge to settle the issue, saying, "It's my duty to continue to tenaciously work on the base issue." However, this is not something he can simply apologize away.

Confusion over the base issue arose because the Hatoyama administration excluded bureaucrats who are experts on the Futenma issue from the discussions, and also because the prime minister, who lacks knowledge, experience and insight, and his ministers took ad hoc and inconsistent approaches.

It is unfortunate that neither the prime minister or ministers in charge are taking responsibility for their serious mismanagement of government under their "politician-led" handling of government affairs and that no strong criticism of them is being heard within the DPJ.


Executive ability lacking

This all brings Hatoyama's aptitude for being the nation's leader into serious question. His comments on the issue changed almost every day, and he was not able to demonstrate leadership or decisiveness.

Responsibility for consequences is the issue here. Nobody respects someone who simply says, "I tried, but I couldn't make it."

What is required of the prime minister is not expressing his own peculiar thoughts or pandering to people he is talking to. What is necessary is an executive ability to resolve problems by making a final decision, having a well-defined goal and having a good command of Cabinet ministers and bureaucrats.

The mutual trust among the Japanese government, the United States, Okinawa Prefecture and relevant local governments is seriously damaged because of Hatoyama's lack of competence.

At the same time, the situation on the Korean Peninsula has become tense following North Korea's torpedoing of a South Korean warship in March. Strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance is an urgent task in view of the uncertainty in East Asia, including China's military build-up and demonstrations of its military might.

The government must keep these things in mind and seriously work on resolving the Futenma issue, which is still only halfway completed.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 29, 2010)
(2010年5月29日01時14分 読売新聞)


米倉経団連発足 逆風はね返し成長の実現を

the Japan Business Federation 日本経団連

Nippon Keidanrenは英語になりつつありますね。
tsunami津波, karaokeカラオケ, karo-shi過労死…(あるアメリカ人は殺しと混同していました)


Longman Eictionary of Contemporary English

Oxford Student's Dictionary

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language

Answer.com online Dictionary



The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 29, 2010)
New Keidanren chief has tough row to hoe
米倉経団連発足 逆風はね返し成長の実現を(5月28日付・読売社説)

Sumitomo Chemical Co. Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura has taken office as the new chief of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren).

One challenge awaiting the new chairman of the nation's largest business lobby will be to confront the increasingly hostile environment surrounding the Japanese economy.

The domestic economy is shrinking due to deflation. Aggressive business activities in overseas markets by companies from emerging Asian and other economies are putting Japanese corporations' hard-earned international standing at risk.

Making matters worse, the administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama continues to implement economic policies that could antagonize the corporate sector. Last year's change of government has weakened the relationship between political circles and the business community, contributing to a decline in Nippon Keidanren's influence.

With Yonekura at its helm, Nippon Keidanren must overcome these challenges and spearhead efforts to achieve economic growth.

In April, Nippon Keidanren put forward a growth strategy whose pillars included measures to increase the international competitiveness of domestic corporations and reform the tax and fiscal systems. An immediate task for the economic organization is to ensure its proposals are sufficiently reflected in a growth strategy the government will announce soon.


Intl competitiveness falling

According to an international competitiveness yearbook compiled by a Swiss management research organ, Japan slumped to 27th this year, down from 17th in 2009. Japan has fallen behind China and South Korea in international corporate competitiveness.

The nation's high corporate tax rate, a major factor behind the decline, has done much to undermine domestic companies' vitality. The high-cost structure of the nation's corporate sector, including the high tax rate, could accelerate an "industrial hollowing-out"--the drain of domestic manufacturing bases to other nations.

Some members of the Hatoyama administration support Nippon Keidanren's proposal to lower the corporate tax rate. They should urge the government to reduce the tax rate as soon as possible.

In some cases, success--or the lack of it--in winning contracts for construction and other infrastructure projects in emerging economies can primarily depend on whether bidders have the support of their governments. Winning contracts for such projects requires public-private cooperation.

Given this fact, the government and business circles in this country have every reason to cooperate in this respect. By the same token, there are times when the business community must resolutely oppose government policies.

It should persist in urging the government to revamp policies that could weigh on the corporate sector, including a ban on dispatching temporary workers to manufacturers and a far-reaching 25 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions.


Time for strategy rethink

Meanwhile, domestic corporations must reform themselves. Admittedly, there has been a long-awaited improvement in the corporate sector's performance. However, this gradual recovery is mainly attributable to increased profits arising from cuts in production and other costs, and comes despite falling earnings. This is to say the corporate sector has yet to grow out of its defensive mentality when it comes to devising business strategies.

The corporate sector also should rethink its overseas strategy. It will be impossible to tap expanding middle-income groups in emerging nations if the sector adheres to the formula that has hitherto been successful in overseas markets--that is, high-quality products can sell well even if they have high prices.

Yonekura reportedly said he intends to put together a new growth strategy that will encourage private corporations to go it alone, without relying on the government. We hope the new Nippon Keidanren chief will advance proposals bursting with daring entrepreneurial spirit.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun,May 28, 2010)
(2010年5月28日01時26分 読売新聞)