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Tag Archives: Japan

The Japanese aren’t daft – that’s why they’re getting out of Brexit Britain

One of the few remaining elegant wooden buildings in central Tokyo that survived allied bombing in the second world war is the Mitsubishi lodge. The Kaitokaku, set back from the main thoroughfares, its gardens overshadowed by skyscrapers, is a web of beautifully carved wood rooms where executives, bankers and clients who are part of the Mitsubishi keiretsu, or conglomerate network, socialise, with top officials from the phenomenally influential ministry of international trade and industry (MITI), and discuss business privately – drinking sake until three or four in the morning. Deals are done, new technologies discussed and consensus reached on what is happening geopolitically to Japan’s markets and how it should react.

The closeness of the relationship between business, finance and state is a universe apart from anything we know in Britain. Critics argue that the keiretsu represents a destructive corporatism and an obstacle to the operation of free and open markets; admirers that it allows member companies to share risks, find synergies, lower financing costs and encourage long-termism – so informing Japan’s agile industrial policy and directly leading to Japan having dozens of world-beating companies and brands. By contrast, Britain is not at the races.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/24/japan-brexit-honda-nissan-liam-fox

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Posted by on March 4, 2019 in Asia, Europe

 

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Japan’s Hostage Justice System

The high-profile arrest of Carlos Ghosn has shone a light on Japan’s long overlooked “hostage” justice system, in which criminal suspects are held for long periods in harsh conditions to coerce a confession. Ghosn, fired as CEO/Chairman of Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors after his November 19 arrest on allegations of financial misconduct (but still CEO of Renault), was originally detained for 21 days – and then, to keep him in custody beyond the legal maximum, has been rearrested on other charges.

Ghosn has been refused bail, has not been allowed to have lawyers present under questioning, and has been unable to meet with his family since his arrest.

Many Japanese welcomed the new year with soba noodles, mandarin oranges, a heated kotatsu table, and green tea. But Ghosn, like other criminal suspects in Japan, spent the time in a small, cold, tatami-floored cell with only occasional opportunities for bathing and limited exercise.

https://thediplomat.com/2019/01/japans-hostage-justice-system/

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2019 in Asia

 

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The Toxic Influence of Japan’s Rural Political Interest Groups

In Japan, 2018 ended with a rather anachronistic piece of news that nonetheless caused a minor shock in the international community. In a bid to resume commercial whaling, Japan announced its withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Japan Times noted that legislators with large whaling communities pushed through the move with the acquiescence of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, despite a continued decline of whale meat consumption among the Japanese general public and refusal among major retail and restaurant chains to carry whale meat-based products. The article noted that the reluctance of younger Japanese to consume whale meat means any rebound in demand for whale meat after the resumption of commercial whaling is unlikely.  

https://thediplomat.com/2019/01/the-toxic-influence-of-japans-rural-political-interest-groups/

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2019 in Asia

 

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Pielgrzymka na święty wulkan Japończyków

Niepokoję się, czy zdążymy przed nocą. Jest październik, ciemno robi się koło piątej, szóstej, ale dziś ciężkie chmury sprawiają, że od rana panuje mrok.

Podążamy przez gęstą puszczę – wśród oplecionych porostami cedrów, kryptomerii, buków i leszczyn. Wilgoć i mgła. Wokół ogromne paprocie, chaszcze. I mech, wszechobecny w Japonii mech. Pod nogami ścielą się gnijące liście, wystające spod nich korzenie drzew wiją się niczym oślizgłe węże. I jeszcze raz po raz ogromne, brunatne głazy – zastygła lawa.

Naszym celem jest góra Fudżi. Ścieżka, którą zmierzamy przez północne jej zbocze, to Yoshida – najstarsza spośród kilku prowadzących na szczyt tras, wytyczona kilkaset lat temu przez mnichów i ascetów. Korzystali z niej pielgrzymi, dla których trwająca często parę tygodni wyprawa była głębokim przeżyciem duchowym.

https://magazynpismo.pl/pielgrzymka-na-swiety-wulkan-japonczykow/#

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2018 in Asia

 

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In Giappone si comincia a parlare di lavorare meno

I dirigenti giapponesi dovrebbero prendere esempio da Yoshihisa Aono, il fondatore della Cybozu. Se gli uffici dell’azienda che produce software fossero a Palo Alto sarebbero piuttosto comuni, ma per gli standard di Tokyo – dove ogni giorno una marea di stacanovisti in abito nero va al lavoro in luoghi funzionali ma squallidi – sono piuttosto insoliti. Nel quartier generale della Cybozu ci sono scimmie e pappagalli di peluche. I dipendenti indossano abiti informali, scarpe da ginnastica e siedono su sgabelli sorseggiando caffè davanti ai loro computer portatili. Aono esce dall’ufficio alle 16.30 per passare del tempo con i figli. Diversamente dalla maggior parte dei padri giapponesi, va in congedo di paternità. E va addirittura in vacanza.

https://www.internazionale.it/notizie/2018/08/23/giappone-lavoro-karoshi

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2018 in Asia

 

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A Generation in Japan Faces a Lonely Death

Cicadas, every Japanese schoolchild knows, lie underground for years before rising to the earth’s surface in summer. They climb up the nearest tree, where they cast off their shells and start their short second lives. During their few days among us, they mate, fly and cry. They cry until their bodies are found on the ground, twitching in their last moments, or on their backs with their legs pointing upward.

Chieko Ito hated the din they made. They had just started shrieking, as they always did in early summer, and the noise would keep getting louder in the weeks to come, invading her third-floor apartment, making any kind of silence impossible. As one species of cicadas quieted down, another’s distinct cry would take over. Then, as the insects peaked in numbers, showers of dead and dying cicadas would rain down on her enormous housing complex, stopping only with the end of summer itself.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/30/world/asia/japan-lonely-deaths-the-end.html

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2018 in Asia

 

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Asia’s new ways to say goodbye

On a recent Saturday afternoon on the roof deck of a small ship in Tokyo Bay, 13 passengers sat in somber silence as the vessel chugged its way to the middle of the inlet. The tortured lyrics of John Lennon’s 1970 song “Mother” wafted faintly from a speaker inside the boat as jets roared against a deep blue sky above.

In the water below, hundreds of brightly colored flower petals floated on the surface, marking the spot where a paper bag containing the cremated remains of a passenger’s family member had been tossed into the bay.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Features/Cover-story/Asia-s-new-way-of-dying-Funerals-for-the-21st-century-Asia-s-new-ways-to-say-goodbye

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2018 in Asia

 

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Japan struggles to overcome its groping problem

A group of men boarded the women-only car of the Chiyoda Line subway in Tokyo during the morning commute on Feb. 16 as a form of protest, saying that excluding men was a form of discrimination. Such protests are not unusual, but the media almost never covers them. In this case, the women who were already on the train objected loudly, but the men refused to leave after the train arrived at Kokkai-gijidomae Station, thus prompting station staff to become involved. Then, one of the protesters pushed the emergency stop button on the platform. The train ended up being delayed by more than 15 minutes.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/03/17/national/media-national/japan-struggles-overcome-groping-problem/#.WsjksoDOO9c

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in Asia

 

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Why Is Japan Populist-Free?

Contemporary Japan may have its flaws, but it is now much more egalitarian than the United States, India, or many countries in Europe. By remaining a country of, by, and for the middle class, where the most affluent tend to be discreet, Japan has avoided the dangerous politics roiling developed and developing countries alike.

TOKYO – Even as a wave of right-wing populism is sweeping Europe, the United States, India, and parts of Southeast Asia, Japan has so far appeared to be immune. There are no Japanese demagogues, like Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, Narendra Modi, or Rodrigo Duterte, who have exploited pent-up resentments against cultural or political elites. Why?

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/japan-no-populism-reasons-by-ian-buruma-2018-01

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2018 in Asia

 

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Why changing Japan’s pacifist constitution is a big deal

AFTER a landslide election win on Sunday that saw his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) coalition secure a two-thirds “super majority”, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it clear he seeks to push for his long-held goal of constitutional revision.As his electoral victory started to become clear, Abe said he wanted to deepen the debate on the topic and seek agreement among the ruling bloc and the opposition. He also made clear that he had dropped his initial 2020 deadline for the amendments, favouring consensus over rushing.Having secured 313 seats in the 465-member chamber, Abe has his the two-thirds majority needed to pass any proposed revisions in the lower house.Convincing the public, however, may prove more difficult. Changing the constitution is a highly controversial issue in Japan, where many still see the pacifist aspect as an integral part to maintaining peace.Here’s a little background on the history of the constitution and why changing it is a big deal both for the people of Japan, and the region as a whole:

Source: Why changing Japan’s pacifist constitution is a big deal

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2017 in Asia

 

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