香山リカのココロの万華鏡:いじめは誰にでも起きる /東京

2012-07-31 05:04:38 | 英字新聞

July 29, 2012(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Bullying could happen to anyone
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:いじめは誰にでも起きる /東京

The backlash against the problem of bullying has spread further.

Following a recent publication of my column here, in which I wrote: "Why are those who are being bullied not seeking help? This is a problem that requires further thought," I was criticized for "trying to say that the victims who aren't seeking help are to blame."

Needless to say, that is not the case. What I was really trying to say is that there are cases when, being in the swirl of all of this turmoil, some people are just unable to call for help, because they cannot fully realize what is happening to them.

As a matter of fact, I have witnessed this situation at my consultation room a couple of times now.

Among these cases was a parent who brought their junior high school-aged daughter to me, saying she had been unwilling to go to school.
After talking with the girl, I came to realize that she had been a victim of malicious bullying.

However, when I told her that I think her problem was not her refusal to go to school, but the bullying itself, telling her she was correct not to go to school, she shook her head in denial, saying she disagrees with my opinion.

I wonder, could this be some sort of refusal to accept that one is being bullied?

There are other cases, in which although bullied children gather courage to tell their parents and schools that they have been bullied, the adults themselves refuse to accept the reality.

I wonder if this is what happened at the school in Otsu, where a boy committed suicide after being bullied by classmates.

Many adults think that for bullying to occur, there should be other fundamental problems happening at the institution.

Many people refuse to accept that bullying is actually happening, on the grounds that theirs is "a proper institution, that has nothing to do with badly handled households or schools."

We all need to acknowledge that, unfortunately, with the current school system and society, bullying could happen anywhere.

Therefore, people who have fallen victim to bullying or schools where such incidents have occurred do not need to think that there is something wrong with them or the institution.

Children who are being bullied should try to stay away from the place where that is happening, or in other words -- the school.

Such children's parents should welcome them at home, while school officials should share the responsibility for the incident and deal with it together, instead of putting it all on the child's homeroom teacher or other single individuals.

Nobody should try to turn a blind eye to bullying or attempt to hide the truth from the public.

In order to protect children from being bullied, you should not think of it as something atypical.

You should think of it as something that could happen anywhere and to anyone.

I would like to repeat that one more time.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2012年07月24日 地方版


ロンドン五輪 数多くの感動を味わいたい

2012-07-30 05:23:58 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 29, 2012)
Nation craves moving drama at London Olympics
ロンドン五輪 数多くの感動を味わいたい(7月28日付・読売社説)

The London Olympics have opened. What kind of drama will the athletes, who have come from all over the world, show us? We hope we will enjoy the quadrennial sporting festival.

A total of 204 countries and territories will take part in this Summer Olympics. This is the first time female athletes have been included in every Olympic team, and also the first Games in which women will compete in all events.

London has become the first city to host the Olympics three times--first in 1908 and again in 1948.

The British government has been cautious about security this time. The Olympic Village is surrounded by an electrified fence about five meters high, and surface-to-air missiles have been deployed in London's downtown areas.

We hope the British government will implement the best possible security measures until the Games end on Aug. 12.


Limited budget

Europe is now in the middle of a financial crisis, and Britain is no exception, being forced to stage a "frugal Olympics" amid austerity measures.

The cost of holding the Games, reportedly about 1.13 trillion yen, is said to be only a quarter of what China spent for the previous Beijing Olympics, which were apparently aimed at raising the latter's national prestige.

Britain used concrete made from industrial waste to build the main Olympic stadium, and plans to transform the Olympic Village into a private housing complex after the Games.

The London Olympics feature cost-saving, care for the environment and effective use of facilities.

As for Japan, this year marks the 100th anniversary of its Olympic debut at the Stockholm Games in 1912.

A total of 293 Japanese athletes are competing at the current London Games, and the Japanese team has set a target of finishing fifth or higher in the gold medal standings.

Japan won nine gold medals in the Beijing Olympics, finishing eighth. To secure the fifth spot, more than 15 golds will probably be needed.


Test of Japan govt measures

In recent years, the Japanese government has selected events in which the nation has a higher probability of winning medals and allocated more subsidies to them. The London Olympics could serve as a test of such steps to boost the nation's competitiveness.

If Japanese Olympians produce good results in the opening events such as swimming, judo and gymnastics, that could lift the spirits of the whole team.

Kosuke Kitajima is notable as he will aim for his third consecutive Olympic golds in the men's 100- and 200-meter breaststroke. We hope he will swim his way into Olympic history.

People in Japan are already excited about the Olympics after the men's and women's Japanese soccer teams won their opening games. The vigorous performances of the Japanese athletes encourage us as we root for them.

The more impressive the athletes' performances, the more people will be interested in the Olympics. Such public interest is certain to become a tailwind for promoting the campaign to bring the 2020 Games to Tokyo.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 28, 2012)
(2012年7月28日05時15分  読売新聞)


北朝鮮新体制 「先軍政治」から転換できるか

2012-07-29 06:00:06 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 28, 2012)
Can Pyongyang change its 'military-first' doctrine?
北朝鮮新体制 「先軍政治」から転換できるか(7月27日付・読売社説)

Speculation is rife in the wake of the dismissal of the chief of North Korea's General Staff, who was widely seen as a mentor of that country's young leader, the ruling Workers' Party First Secretary Kim Jong Un.

A little more than three months since it launched its new leadership, uncertainty is heightening over Pyongyang's future course, meaning we must remain vigilant.

Two years ago, in the days of the late General Secretary Kim Jong Il, the now dismissed army chief was promoted to the post of vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the party's political bureau, or politburo, along with Kim Jong Un. The man was at the top of North Korea's military elite, concurrently serving as a member of the standing committee of the politburo.

In Kim Jong Il's funeral procession, the man walked in a leading position along with Kim Jong Un, and was seen a key figure supporting the new leader.

The meeting of the politburo that decided on his removal from all duties said the decision was "due to his illness," but some analysts believe there may have been a power struggle behind the decision.


New leadership style eyed?

Kim Jong Un, who earlier became a four-star general, obtained the post of "marshal of the republic" immediately after the removal of the chief of the General Staff. Kim Jong Un's acquisition of the topmost military position is thought to be a move to demonstrate that he has now a complete grip on the military both in name and substance, presumably in a bid to display the stability of his regime.

No other remarkable developments have been reported recently in the North Korean military, but Japan, together with the United States and South Korea, must continue to watch Pyongyang's moves.

While pledging to dedicate himself unconditionally to his father's teachings, Kim Jong Un has shown signs of a new style of governance different from that of his father in a number of ways.

In one high-profile example of this, North Korean media have disclosed that a young woman seen accompanying Kim Jong Un on various occasions is his wife.

He also authorized the TV broadcast of a performance by an all-female band, some of its members in miniskirts, during which an ersatz Mickey Mouse character made an appearance.

Such gestures appear designed to emphasize differences from his father, who preferred an authoritarian and mysterious pattern of behavior. There might even be hints that he favors North Korea opening up a bit to the international community.

However, the question is whether these changes may lead eventually to a change from Pyongyang's traditional "songun," or military-first, doctrine.

As Kim Jong Un himself stressed in a speech, North Korea's most urgent task is "solving food problems of the people."


Signs of economic reform

The task is to rebuild the North Korean economy in a way Kim Jong Un has pledged will mean people "no longer have to tighten their belts" and endure hunger.

He has issued instructions for steps to expand acreage of farmland and increase farming productivity. He has criticized the disorderly development and export of mineral resources that have been carried out in the name of "earning foreign currency." Apparently in connection with this, the new North Korean leader has come out with a policy of placing the management of his country's natural resources under the direct and integrated control of his Cabinet.

These could be signs of Kim Jong Un's resolve to embark on sweeping reforms of his country's economy.

The reality North Korea faces is that sanctions imposed by the international community, which North Korea brought on itself because of its nuclear weapons and missile development programs, have narrowed its options for economic reconstruction.

It seems that a transformation of North Korea's "military-first" politics into "politics placing top priority on the economy" would be extremely hard to realize.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 27, 2012)
(2012年7月27日01時27分  読売新聞)


南シナ海緊張 中国の強硬姿勢に深まる憂慮

2012-07-28 05:47:52 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 27, 2012)
China's hard-line stance cause for grave concern
南シナ海緊張 中国の強硬姿勢に深まる憂慮(7月26日付・読売社説)

We urge China to restrain itself from taking unilateral action and to work to alleviate tension through dialogue with Vietnam and other neighboring countries.

China has created the city of "Sansha" to administer the Spratly Islands, the Paracel Islands and Macclesfield Bank in the South China Sea. Vietnam and the Philippines, which are vying for sovereignty over those island chains with China, immediately voiced strong opposition.

The three island chains were previously administered by a liaison office of Hainan Province in southern China, which is located on Woody Island in the Paracel Islands. China apparently aims to strengthen its effective control over the island chains by upgrading them to a city.

China set up administrative organizations in Sansha, including a People's Congress, or city council, in which the mayor was elected. China said it plans to promote tourism, the fisheries industry and natural resource development in the South China Sea with Sansha as a foothold.


Responsibility lies with China

China's establishment of Sansha is a countermeasure against Vietnam's enactment of the Maritime Law, which stipulates its sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands. However, the initial cause of the trouble was that China unilaterally claimed sovereignty over the three island chains and other islets under the Law on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone 20 years ago.

Even more serious is that China decided to establish in Sansha a "security area" in which the Chinese military will be in charge of defending key strongpoints. Small units are already stationed to protect runways and other facilities, but the establishment of the security area is considered preparation for full-scale military action in the South China Sea.

China's attempt to use its military strength, which is far superior to that of Vietnam and other neighbors, to make the South China Sea "China's Sea" could trigger armed conflict. The situation is grave.

China also unilaterally announced a plan to invite bids for natural resource development in waters that Vietnam claims are inside its exclusive economic zone. Beijing sent 30 fishing boats accompanied by fishery patrol ships to waters around the Spratly Islands and other islets. These actions could cause tension in the South China Sea.


Stability crucial

The stability of the South China Sea is crucial for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It is also conducive to Japan's national interests from the viewpoint of securing the safety of its sea lanes.

In concert with Vietnam and the Philippines, which are threatened by China, Japan needs to strengthen cooperation such as fostering human resources in the field of maritime security and offering patrol vessels to those countries.

In the East China Sea, meanwhile, the situation surrounding the Senkaku Islands has been increasingly harsh.

Recently, Chinese fishery patrol ships intruded into Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands on two consecutive days. As in the South China Sea, China has been blatantly escalating moves to expand its maritime interests.

China is conducting activities to make its presence felt with many fishing boats in the South China Sea. The possibility that Beijing may do the same thing in the East China Sea cannot be ruled out. Japan must heighten its vigilance against China over the Senkaku Islands.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 26, 2012)
(2012年7月26日01時47分  読売新聞)


エネルギー選択 付け焼き刃の議論で決めるな

2012-07-27 04:43:42 | 英字新聞

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 26, 2012)
Don't decide energy option through ad hoc discussions
エネルギー選択 付け焼き刃の議論で決めるな(7月25日付・読売社説)

The basic policy on energy, which will determine the nation's future, should not be decided through ad hoc "national debates."

The government presented three options on the ratio of nuclear power in the nation's mix of power sources for the year 2030, namely zero, 15 percent, or 20 percent to 25 percent. It is carrying out procedures to seek public opinions regarding which option would be most desirable.

Among such procedures are hearings where randomly selected members of the public express their opinions. Eleven such hearings have been or will be held through Aug. 4 at 11 locations nationwide.

It is reasonable for the government to seek a wide sample of public opinions, but it cannot be overlooked that the hearings have caused trouble.

At hearings on July 15 and 16, employees of electric power companies, who identified their employers by name, called for the continued use of nuclear power. Both times, this caused a fierce backlash from other participants who support moving away from dependence on nuclear energy.

The government then hastily decided not to allow employees of power companies and affiliated businesses to express opinions at such hearings. At hearings held Sunday at two locations, the government kept four people working in the industry from expressing their views.


Why have a gag rule?

We are concerned that prohibiting people in the power industry from expressing their views on energy policy is a form of suppression of free speech. The government needs to convincingly explain why it changed the rules in the middle of the process.

To avoid unproductive black-and-white arguments over pro- or anti-nuclear power positions, we consider it vitally important for members of society to express opinions from various points of view and calmly discuss them.

It is also distressing to observe the bad manners displayed by some participants at those hearings, such as excessive booing by those seeking an end to nuclear power.

We also cannot eliminate our concerns over a "deliberative poll," a new method of public survey and discussions the government plans to conduct on Aug. 4 and 5.

Among about 3,000 people nationwide who responded in an opinion survey on the energy options, 200 to 300 who wished to participate in a two-day discussion meeting will do so. After the meeting, the government will again conduct an opinion survey on the participants.


An opinion experiment

We understand the purpose of such a measure--to deepen public understanding of the issue through discussions and observe how public opinions change. But public views could be influenced in certain directions, depending on the content of materials used for discussions and how such an event is held. The government should consider such a method as a mere experimental project--it must not directly reflect the results derived from the event in shaping its policies.

In the first place, all three policy options the government presented are based on the assumption that the ratio of renewable energy sources, including hydroelectric power, will be raised from the current 10 percent or so to 25 percent to 35 percent. People in business circles and others have vocally opposed such scenarios as unattainable.

As long as current circumstances remain unchanged, none of the three policy choices represent a realistic composition of power sources to ensure a stable power supply.

To hammer out a mid- to long-term energy policy in which impacts on the economy and the environment are taken into account, the government should reconsider the suitability of the three options.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 25, 2012)
(2012年7月25日01時42分  読売新聞)