Tag Archives: Japan

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.
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