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$60 a barrel means... CD/DVD price rises in Japan

by citizen Fri Jun 24th, 2005 at 11:09:54 AM EST

After an Japanese language article describing the oil market today, that oil will never go below $40 a barrel, that the U.S. as the largest consumer of oil really sets the price, that China is engaged in buying oil rights in Africa and Central and South America (but not mentioning territorial disputes between China and Japan that involve fuel sources), and that the higher prices are causing inflation in Japan because it costs more to move people and things around, the Asahi Shimbun article ended with the news:

Some makers of CD-R and DVD-R discs have begun to raise their prices, explaining that they must because of higher prices for materials.

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JapanNews 6/23 - First Fusion Reactor Plant to EU?

by citizen Thu Jun 23rd, 2005 at 09:51:52 AM EST

Working on finetuning this news bulletin (Thanks for the comments Jerome), and this time I've concentrated on the "politics/政治" page of the Asahi News. But perhaps the biggest news for the EU is from Japan Times, so that is at the bottom.

Anyone here have any ideas where a fusion reactor might end up in the EU?

  1. China's Ambassador to Japan calls Yasukuni Shrine Visits a Violation of Japan's promises to international society, the promises that allowed it back into international society. 靖国参拝問題

  2. Foreign Minister Machimura requests U.S. Secretary of State's understanding for expansion of Security Council permanent seats. In ten minute meeting with Rice, Rice expressed possibilities of support with a statement that (paraphrased) the U.S. supports expansion of the Council, but wants the Council to be effective. (close paraphrase) 安保理広大
Meanwhile the English version of the story on Asahi News runs with these headline: Miscalculations decimate Japan's strategy for a permanent seat & Japan Backs G-4, not U.S.
Hmmm... someone's sanding down the rough edges on international news in Japanese...

3. Hatoyama notes possibility of joint administration with Russia of the "Northern Territories". Ambassador to Japan has also addressed this possibility recently. 北方領土

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Meanwhile the top news on the Japan Times is Japan plans to drop bid to host ITER

Japan plans to give up its bid to have the world's first nuclear fusion reactor built in Aomori Prefecture, paving the way for the multibillion dollar project to go to the European Union, government sources said Wednesday.

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World News from Japan 6/22

by citizen Wed Jun 22nd, 2005 at 09:53:05 AM EST

Reading the Inter Press Service News Agency: what stories get top ranking from Japanese perspective? こちらへどうぞ.
English links are below.

1. U.S. Senators warn - If we keep going like this, America's moral reputation will be ruined.
Arlen Specter quoted in article as saying that authority to determine the treatment of prisoners resides in Congress.
???English version not loading, not sure why.???

2.  Cuba, Food Aid for Victims of Worst Drought Since 1901
Patricia Grogg (first I've heard of this, but I live in the States)

  1. G8 SUMMIT: Sanjay Suri's 6/20 piece on how individual cities can lead on a global problem - carbon dioxide emissions and the new London Climate Change Agency

  2. REFUGEES-KENYA:Contraceptives - Both Needed and Scorned "I did not like doing this but the women would come to me crying, some saying that they already had ten children or more, and that they could not care for additional children," she told IPS. "One even threatened that if I refused, she would hang herself in my hut."

Japan has a very high abortion rate, and my sense is such experiences educate men and women to taking a very dim view of the needless suffering caused by US and Vatican opposition to more humane birth control.

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Japanese National Political News Editorial
Koizumi claims that restructuring is necessary to make economic recovery possible, but his plan should simply be called The Selling Off of Japan - 日本たたき売り.

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Nagasaki 1945 - censored US story finally published in Japan

by citizen Fri Jun 17th, 2005 at 09:19:19 AM EST

American George Weller was the first non-Japanese reporter to enter Nagasaki following the U.S. atomic attack on the city on Aug. 9, 1945. Weller wrote a series of stories about what he saw in the city, but Occupation GHQ censors were forewarned by the public revulsion that resulted when Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett reported on radiation poisoning in Hiroshima for Britain's Daily Express on Sept. 5, 1945, and they banned weller's stories. Weller died in 2002, and his son Anthony discovered and made available those reports. So, now 60 years later, The Mainichi Daily News has the American news from Nagasaki, 1945.

Over 2 days of reporting, Weller goes from:

As one whittles away at embroidery and checks the stories, the impression grows that the atomic bomb is a tremendous, but not a peculiar weapon. The Japanese have heard the legend from American radio that the ground preserves deadly irradiation. But hours of walking amid the ruins where the odor of decaying flesh is still strong produces in this writer nausea, but no sign or burns or debilitation.

Nobody here in Nagasaki has yet been able to show that the bomb is different than any other, except in a broader extent flash and a more powerful knock-out.

to this

Nakashima considers that it is possible that the atomic bomb's rare rays may cause deaths in the first class, as with delayed X-ray burns. But second class has him totally baffled. These patients begin with slight burns which make normal progress for two weeks. They differ from simple burns, however, in that the patient has a high fever. Unfevered patients with as much as one-third of the skin area burned have been known to recover. But where fever is present after two weeks, healing of burns suddenly halts and they get worse. They come to resemble septic ulcers. Yet patients are not in great pain, which distinguishes them from any X-ray burns victims.

Up to five days from the turn to the worse, they die.

Their bloodstream has not thinned as in first class and their organs after death are found in a normal condition of health. But they are dead - dead of atomic bomb - and nobody knows why.

But the 1945 news from America's first reporter in Nagasaki still goes unreported in the United States.

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Japanese Postal Service Privatization

by citizen Thu Jun 16th, 2005 at 11:52:41 AM EST

What was once a relatively straightforward macroeconomics argument for privatization of the Postal Service savings system in Japan has in the past few years shape-shifted into a more evasive argument that the entire postal system should be privatized. 民営化 is the term in Japan. Although I have not kept up with these developments, PM Koizumi seems to claim responsibility for having pushed privatization to the fore as a general policy.

Opponents note that the post office has got its budget back into the black in the year since this threat was raised, but privatizers maintain that better postal finances are based on revenues from the untaxed savings and insurance programs, not from actual mail delivery.

Those in favor of public post offices note that they provides a kind of simple, basic insurance not available commercially, and isn't this the essence of what the government is for - to provide services the people as individuals cannot provide themselves?

The evasive response of Koizumi et al is to note that "the market will provide," arousing suspicions that the proposed reforms are more about Bush Administration style ideology than about serving citizens better.

Read more... (3 comments, 802 words in story)

Japan News Roundup, June 15

by citizen Wed Jun 15th, 2005 at 01:32:11 AM EST

Japanese News Roundup

  • First ever cease and desist orders issued, to two e-mailer companies in Kyoto, SKI and Asian Oasis. Messages considered ads, and were in violation of law because they did not include name and contact information for the company advertising.

  • Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda publically anticipates progress on resolving the Northern Territories issue (4 islands and sub-islands taken by USSR in 1945, and which are still the main obstacle to WWII actually coming to a full conclusion) during Putin's planned visit in November this year.

  • Ichiro Suzuki reaches 1,000th hit in Major League Baseball.

  • Prime Minister declares that he is certain that the majority of the population will support privatization of the Post Office Savings Account system. Resolves to get measures passed during this session of the Diet to make privatization a reality by 2007. Minshuto pol counters with a picture-story show

  • Toyota opens factory in St. Petersburg, Russia. [ed]Correction: Toyota breaks ground on a factory in St. Petersburg, and Putin attends. Interfax squibs here

  • Ministry of Health research team discovers genetic variation that tends to prevent HIV positive patients from developing AIDS symptoms. The team, led by Professor Iwamoto Aiyoshi  of Tokyo University, has determined that this difference affects the proteins of certain lymph cells that make up part of the immune system, and they hope to use the knowledge toward medicines to stimulate better immune responses. This is variation is present in 16% of Japan's population.

Anyone here read Japanese? At this point I'm not bothering with links, but if we have any readers...

[update]I've added some links and one new story before the day ends. Cosmetics maker Mandom Corp. announced Tuesday it has stopped airing a TV commercial that compares black people and monkeys. In the commercial for men's blotting paper, several black people wipe sweat off their faces with the paper, while a chimpanzee beside them in an Afro wig and a multicolored outfit wipes his face in imitation.

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Japanese aeronautics flirts with French supersonics

by citizen Tue Jun 14th, 2005 at 12:42:15 PM EST

Tuesday in Paris, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) jilted Boeing and pledged a three year flirtation with the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) and SAFRAN the people who last month, for the first time ever, put a helicopter on top of Mount Everest.

Read more... (3 comments, 211 words in story)

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