Tag Archives: Japan

Japan PM Abe resigns

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation over health issues, opening a vacancy for the top job of the world’s third-biggest economy in which he sought to revive growth and bolster its defenses.

“I have decided that I will step down as prime minister, with the belief that I cannot continue being prime minister if I do not have the confidence that I can carry out the job entrusted to me by the people,” Abe, 65, told a news conference.

He said he had decided to step down now to avoid a political vacuum as the country copes with its novel coronavirus outbreak.

“I apologize from the bottom of my heart that despite all of the support from the Japanese people, I am leaving the post with one full year left in my term and in the midst of various policies and coronavirus,” Abe said.

Abe decision will trigger a leadership race in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) – most likely in two or three weeks – and the winner must be formally elected in parliament. The new party leader will hold the post for the rest of Abe’s term.

Former defense minister Shigeru Ishiba and former foreign minister Fumio Kishida both swiftly expressed interes, media reported. Among others whose names have been floated is Abe’s close aide, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

Japan city bans smartphones use in motion

Yamato City is prohibiting pedestrians from using smartphones while preambulaing the vicinity public roads, squares and parks, according to a July 1 report from NDTV. It’s first publically announced ban of its kind to be imposed in Japan.

There’s no punishment foreseen in case pedasrians don’t abide by the prohibition. The ban’s supporter so all ages said they hope that the action will help to warn about the dangers of being distracted by phones, according to the report.

The city Council said it hopes people will recognize that “smartphones should not be used while in motion.”

According to the ordinance, pedestrians should stop at a place where they are not obstructing traffic if they want to use their smartphones in public spaces, such as on streets and in parks.

In January, the city conducted a study at two locations, observing a total of about 6,000 pedestrians, and found that roughly 12% of them were using their smartphones while walking. Following the survey, the draft ordinance was submitted to the city’s Council on June 1.

The city has an estimated population of 235 thousand (2017), with more than 100 thousand households.

Image: illustration

High heels debate at new heights

Led by Yumi Ishikawa, an actress and writer, #KuToo campaign aims at criticising dress codes, requiring women in office to wear high heels. The hashtag trended on Twitter and resulted in 150,000 petition signatories as many compared the requirements to foot binding.

In traditional Asian culture, dress codes occasionally prohibit female employees also from wearing glasses. Based on strict patterns of the feminine beauty, the bans do not apply to male colleagues.

The outcry against the prohibitions received significant media coverage after trending on Twitter, and has risen to a top level, receiving the support of the Prime Minister Abe, who said employers should not force women to wear high heels. However it is difficult even for him to contradict regulations in private companies.

“I think the fact that high heels were forbidden played on the unconscious… there was also the mystery and the fetishistic side… the simple drawing of a high-heeled shoe is often associated with sexuality,” world famous French shoe designer Christian Louboutin said, defending his choice for legendary high heels of his artistic creations. He insisted that his art was not just about making heels “higher and higher”.

“Super-high heels can free women, Louboutin claimed, insisting that wearing his towering six-inch stilettos is a “form of liberty” to impose femininity.

While some feminists see vertiginous heels as sexual enslavement, Louboutin believes the opposite — even if it means women have to walk slowly and carefully in his iconic red-soled creations.

Women do not want to give up wearing high heels,” the designer said, commenting on his show “The Exhibitionist” (till 26/07), a retrospective of his 30-year career, ongoing in Paris until mid-summer.

Japan aims at solution of Kuril Islands issue

The Japanese government is determined to achieve a solution to the territorial issue and sign a peace treaty with Russia, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in his programme speech, addressing the Parliament on January 20.

Step-by-step, the agreements, which we reached with Russian President [Vladimir] Putin are being implemented,” Abe said. “Former residents of the [Southern Kuril] Islands go on a pilgrimage tour by plane to their relatives’ graves and joint economic activity is being cultivated on the four islands.

We will speed up talks based on the 1956 Joint Declaration, solve the territorial problem and sign a peace treaty,” Abe continued. “We are moving towards this without any hesitation. I’m fully determined to achieve this goal together with President [Vladimir Putin],” Prime Minister underlined.

Russia and Japan have been in talks to sign a peace treaty since the mid-20th century. The main stumbling block to achieving this is the ownership issue over the Southern Kuril Islands, called the Northern Territories in Japan.

After the end of World War II, the Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan Islands and the Habomai Islands has been challenged by Japan. The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly said that Russia’s sovereignty over these islands, which is committed to paper in international documents, cannot be called in question.

Lavrov on sovereignty over S.Kuril

Japan should recognize Russia’s sovereignty over the Southern Kuril Islands to allow both countries conclude a peace treaty, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said to reporters on November 23.

Russian diplomat issued this comment as a reaction on a statement by Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, which clarifies that the Japanese government would continue negotiations with Russia on a peace treaty proceeding from its baseline position: first to settle the territorial problem and then to conclude a peace treaty.

With all the respect for the Chief Cabinet Secretary, we are nonetheless guided by the agreements that are reached at the highest level between the Russian president and the Japanese prime minister. They have agreed to move forward in discussing the problems that remain, proceeding from the 1956 declaration, which clearly states that first Russia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over all our lands, including those territories, are recognized, thus recognizing the results of World War II, and then everything else will possibly be discussed,” Lavrov underlined.

Bullet sent in a letter to S.Korea Embassy

A letter containing what appeared to be a bullet was sent to the South Korean Embassy in Japan, police said September 3. The incident took place during the period of sharply deteriorating ties between the two countries over wartime history and trade policy.

Police said they are analyzing the object to confirm whether it is a bullet, and to possibly help identify the sender.

The letter was delivered to the embassy in Tokyo (pictured) on August 27 and addressed to former Ambassador Lee Su Hoon, sources close to the matter said. It was sent an anonymously, and contained a threat, indicating that the sender had a rifle and is targeting a South Korean, according to the sources. The police investigation was launched.

Relations between two countries deteriorated swiftly after the South Korean Supreme Court last autumn ordered two Japanese companies to pay damages to South Koreans who it indicated were forced to work in their factories during Japanese colonial rule.

Japan reiterates that the issue of compensation stemming from its colonial rule was settled “finally and completely” in a 1965 bilateral agreement under which Japan provided South Korea with $300 million in grants and $200 million in loans.

Taiwan-Okinawa ancient migrant route

Taiwan museums and their Japanese colleagues launched a third experiment of human migration route from Taiwan to Okinawa, which they presume existed about 30,000 years ago. (Image above: illustration).

The sea voyage in a dugout canoe is one of multiple research projects signed in 2017 between Taiwan’s National Museum of Prehistory and Japan’s National Museum of Nature and Science.

Scientists at Japan‘s National Museum of Nature and Science have been trying for three years to obtain evidence of a hypotheses that people migrated from Taiwan to Okinawa some 30,000 years ago with archaic canoe. Previous attempts using a grass boat and a bamboo raft failed, but scientists don’t give up.

The crew five members on the canoe will use the sun and stars for navigation. They are expected to reach Yonaguni Island in 30 to 40 hours.

The museum informed the vessel left the east coast of Taiwan around 1:30 PM, local time, on July 7.

Japanese youth seeks for changing jobs

About half of new recruits who started working in April 2019 in Japan said they expect to have left their companies within 10 years, a survey revealed.

In the online survey conducted in early May this year to which 800 new graduates responded, 46.9% said they would work at the companies they had just joined for 10 years or less, while only 21.8% said they would stay until the age of retirement, recruiting service firm Mynavi Corp. announced.

Among those not wanting to work at their companies for a long time, 44.4% said would leave due to events such as marriage and childbirth and consider new work options, while 29.7% said they hope to boost their career by changing jobs.

When asked how long they expect to work at their company, 22.2% said no longer than three years, 14.9% four to five years and 9.8% six to 10 years.

The respondents were 400 men and 400 women aged 22 and 23.

Mynavi said many in their 20s have positive views about changing jobs. “It is becoming increasingly usual to work while rearing a child and many people seek environments that enable them to manage both” work and family, a Mynavi official said.

“More workers also try to achieve self-growth by not just depending on one workplace at a time when the premise of lifetime employment is no longer a given,” he added.

Juncker congratulates Emperor Naruhito

The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker congratulates on His Imperial Majesty Naruhito on his accession to the throne. “My best wishes for a long, peaceful & prosperous reign. There could be no better occasion than the beginning of a new Japanese era, Reiwa, to further develop our friendship & our harmonious relations” Juncker wrote in his Twitter microblog.

Previously the president of the European Council Donald Tusk suggested the name of the new imperial era #Reiwa  could become the motto of the EU-Japan relations.

Emperor Naruhito has ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne as the 126th ruler of his dynasty, and Japan’s first modern monarch, taking his nation into a new era.

The EU and Japan’s Economic Partnership Agreement entered into force on  February 1, 2019. EU firms already export over €58bn in goods and €28bn in services to Japan every year. 

The agreement secures the opening of services markets, in particular financial services, e-commerce, telecommunications and transport. It furthermore:

  • facilitates to EU companies access to the procurement markets of 54 large Japanese cities, and removes obstacles to procurement in the economically important railway sector at national level;
  • addresses specific sensitivities in the EU, for instance in the automotive sector, with transition periods of up to 7 years before customs duties are eliminated.

Japanese independent women

From eating out to camping, more Japanese women are doing things alone as they wish to enjoy their time to themselves.

In the past, those without family members, partners or friends were commonly looked upon in a negative light. However, this view has been changing with so-called soloists increasingly being seen as independent.

You make your own decisions, so you get the chance to face yourself,” said free-lance writer Mayumi Asai, who has been promoting a perception. “There is no feeling of loneliness, only one of significance and accomplishment.”

Her writing has garnered support from like-minded individuals who comment that they also enjoy undertaking activities by themselves and want to have similar experiences to hers.

One day last month Asai could be found strawberry picking at a farm in the city of Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture.

Unlike the majority of visitors, who comprised couples and families, Asai had come alone. After picking a few dozen strawberries, she went on to take some pictures of the cherry blossoms in bloom along a nearby river.

The 33-year-old began doing things on her own as a university student after a female friend who had grown up abroad told her she liked to eat at ramen (quick-cooking noodles) restaurants by herself. Asai had always felt it was a burden to have to consider the feelings of others when hanging out in a group, but this feeling disappeared when she followed the example of her friend and began eating on her own.

According to a 2015 study conducted by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, 36% of women responded that they would not feel lonely if they were to spend the rest of their lives by themselves, up 7% points from the previous study five years before.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would like 30% of Japanese business leaders to be women by 2020. A record 75.7% of women between the ages of 25 and 39 held jobs in 2017, up 6% from 2012, according to a survey by the Internal Affairs Ministry. Confronted by a labor shortage, companies are offering flexible hours, enabling mothers with small children to hold on to their jobs.

Woman Kyoto

 

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