英字新聞 (読売、毎日、朝日、英字新聞の社説を学習研究 )


朴・舛添会談 国民の心を遠ざけたのは誰か

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Who caused alienation in hearts of Japanese, South Korean people?
朴・舛添会談 国民の心を遠ざけたのは誰か

It was regrettable to see South Korean President Park Geun-hye continue her anti-Japan position of unilaterally criticizing this nation when she met Tokyo Gov.

Yoichi Masuzoe for talks in Seoul on Friday.

Park stressed that the deterioration in Japan-South Korean relations stemmed from the “words and acts of some politicians,” and added that it was necessary for the two nations to share a correct perception of history if they want their relationship to develop. These comments are a repetition of her pet opinion critical of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s historical perception.

Park also indicated that she would put top priority on solving the issue of so-called comfort women, which she said was “a matter related to universal human rights.”

Ahead of Masuzoe’s talks with Park, Abe asked him to convey a message to the president. The message said, “The door for dialogue is always open,” indicating his desire to hold a bilateral summit meeting. Park’s comments, however, can be taken to show her continued determination to make the settlement of the comfort women issue and other issues a precondition for meeting with Abe.

Park did hail an exchange project under consideration between Tokyo and Seoul and supported a plan for parties concerned to cooperate in hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

But such exchanges will inevitably be limited under this abnormal situation, in which Park has been refusing to meet Abe ever since she was inaugurated nearly 1½ years ago.

Park part of the problem

“It’s regrettable that a difficult political situation seems to be alienating [Japanese and South Korean] people’s hearts from each other,” Park said during her talk with Masuzoe. We found it odd for her to speak as if she were not a party to this problem.

Her backbiting diplomacy of criticizing Japan in front of foreign dignitaries has provoked ire in Japan. What does she think about her own responsibility for this?

After the March summit meeting among Japan, the United States and South Korea, which was mediated by U.S. President Barack Obama, Tokyo and Seoul started talks by foreign affairs officials at the director general level.

The South Korean officials are seeking concessions from their Japanese counterparts over the comfort women issue, while the Japanese side took up the issue of lawsuits filed by South Koreans conscripted to work in factories in Japan during World War II. No progress has been made in their talks.

Early this month, a Seoul hotel abruptly refused to provide a venue for an event commemorating the inauguration of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, in response to a flood of protests it received after an influential South Korean newspaper blasted the event.

This was a result of Park spreading anti-Japanese sentiment throughout South Korean society.

What should not be overlooked is her stance of joining forces with China’s leadership over historical issues. During her talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Park and Xi jointly expressed alarm over recent progress in Japan-North Korean talks.

In addition to North Korean issues, there are many issues that require cooperation between Japan and South Korea, including the conclusion of a bilateral economic partnership agreement and the implementation of measures to deal with air pollution from China. We wonder if Park believes no efforts are necessary to break the impasse over bilateral relations.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 26, 2014)


中国期限切れ肉 外資企業にも及んだ背信行為

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Expired meat scandal in China a betrayal of Japan’s safety efforts
中国期限切れ肉 外資企業にも及んだ背信行為

Yet again, a problem that greatly damages the trustworthiness of Chinese-made food products has been exposed. This is a matter of enormous concern.

Shanghai Husi Food Co., a Shanghai-based subsidiary of a major U.S. food processing company, was revealed to have shipped meat products that had passed their expiration dates.

As a result, McDonald’s Co. (Japan) and leading convenience store chain FamilyMart Co., both of which had imported chicken meat from Husi Food, have been forced to suspend sales of some of their products.

Chinese police authorities have concluded that the selling of meat past its sell-by date was the result of illegal production led by Husi Food’s management. They detained five people, including the factory’s quality manager. The full scope of the situation must be elucidated promptly.

According to the Chinese TV reports that revealed the meat shipping irregularities, the Husi Food factory repackaged meat products that had been returned unsold by turning them into ground meat. The chicken meat, which investigators said required frozen storage, was handled in a warehouse at room temperature.

Regarding the mixing of out-of-date meat into ordinary ground meat, one factory employee was quoted as making the remarkable assertion, “People won’t die from consuming expired foods.” That sentiment is emblematic of the many words and deeds pointing to the total moral failure at food-processing facilities, where the safety of consumers should have been the absolute top priority.

In a 2008 incident in China, baby formula was tainted with a toxic chemical, affecting the health of about 300,000 babies and toddlers. There has been a seemingly uninterrupted stream of food-related problems in China, including the revelation last year of the distribution of rice contaminated with cadmium.

The tendency to disregard consumers’ health and put profits ahead of all else is likely behind this succession of problems.

Dependence on China foods

The Chinese public is extremely dissatisfied with this state of affairs, in which the need for safe food receives little scrutiny. The leadership of the Chinese Communist Party administration, eager to ensure the stability of society, may have found it necessary to hurriedly launch law enforcement investigations into the latest food scandal, aiming to demonstrate the government’s intent to clamp down rigorously on such wrongdoing.

What cannot be ignored in the Husi Food case is that the illegal production occurred at the factory of a foreign-capitalized company—one generally believed to operate in a relatively safe manner compared to Chinese-run firms.

A deliberate poisoning incident in 2008, in which an employee at a Chinese food firm laced frozen gyoza dumplings with pesticide, spurred food processing companies affiliated with Japanese food firms and trading houses to redouble their efforts to enforce strong quality control and ensure the maintenance of a high standard of food safety. In recent years, food imports to Japan from China have been steadily growing.

This incident at Husi Food is an unmistakable betrayal of the work of many on the Japanese side and throws cold water on their food quality crusade.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has ordered the suspension of food imports from Shanghai Husi Food. Over the past year, Japan’s chicken meat imports from the company totaled 6,000 tons. Thorough probes must be conducted to determine whether the firm had previously shipped expired meat, to help alleviate customers’ anxiety.

The continued existence of Japan’s food industries relies on low-priced ingredients produced in China.

Companies importing Chinese goods must strengthen their inspection and supervision systems, working from the assumption that people should be deemed dishonest by nature when it comes to food processing in China. These companies may have to take such measures as arranging regular factory visits by officials from Japan for safety checks and installing security cameras in factories.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 25, 2014)


撃墜非難決議 国際調査にはまだ障害がある

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Despite UNSC resolution, investigation of MH17 downing still faces obstacles
撃墜非難決議 国際調査にはまだ障害がある

To ensure that the truth behind this tragic incident can be quickly determined, all parties involved in the conflict and other nations that have a stake in the matter, including Russia, should positively cooperate with an international investigation team.

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane over eastern Ukraine last week.

The resolution called on all states to cooperate fully with efforts to ensure that those responsible for this incident will be held to account. It demanded that pro-Russian militant groups that control the area where the plane came down immediately provide international investigators “safe, secure, full and unrestricted access to the site” and “refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the crash site.”

In the days after the airliner was shot down, armed rebels brazenly interfered with investigators’ efforts to examine the crash site and removed bodies of the victims. Some of their actions appeared to constitute tampering with evidence, such as their quick retrieval of the black boxes that contain flight data and records of communications between the flight crew and others.

The Security Council’s adoption of a legally binding resolution demanding the correction of these actions is significant.

The militants accepted the resolution and have handed two black boxes to Malaysian authorities. They have also relented on their initial refusal to hand over the victims’ bodies. Although this has come far too late, they are steps in the right direction.

Ukraine and the United States have criticized the Russian military’s involvement in this incident, including its provision of surface-to-air missiles to the pro-Russian militants. Their accusations are backed by evidence, including satellite images of the missile launch and intercepted conversations and communications between the militants after the plane was shot down.

Onus on Moscow

As the main supporter of the rebels, Russia has an important role to play in the investigation.

Moscow supported the resolution in an apparent bid to avoid becoming internationally isolated at a time when Britain, France and Germany are considering tightening sanctions on Russia as anti-Russia sentiment grows in Europe, where most of the passengers on Flight MH17 came from.

However, there is no guarantee efforts to unravel the truth will progress smoothly. Russia continues to say one thing while it does another.

Although Moscow has indicated its willingness to cooperate with the investigation, it still denies involvement in the incident. It has lambasted Ukraine for permitting civilian aircraft to fly through airspace over a conflict zone as “criminal,” and also has been trying to shift the blame for the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane.

We think Russian President Vladimir Putin has a responsibility to exercise the influence he wields over the armed groups and supply whatever information he possesses to ensure the international investigation team can get to the bottom of what really happened.

The investigation will clarify whether the claims made by Washington and Moscow have reason on their side. The International Civil Aviation Organization and nations caught up in this incident must ensure that a fair, transparent investigation can be conducted.

The Security Council resolution also demanded that all military activities immediately cease in the area surrounding the crash site. Using this opportunity, the Ukrainian military and the pro-Russian armed groups should refrain from hostilities and work toward an immediate ceasefire.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 23, 2014)


BRICS開銀 欧米主導への対抗軸となるか

What are the Bretton Woods Institutions?
The Bretton Woods Institutions are the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They were set up at a meeting of 43 countries in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, USA in July 1944.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Can BRICS bank be counterweight to current intl financial order?
BRICS開銀 欧米主導への対抗軸となるか

A recent announcement by the BRICS countries, which have grown in economic stature, can be considered a demonstration of a stance that rivals the international financial order led by the United States and European countries.

The BRICS emerging economies—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—decided at a recent group summit to create a new development bank.

The new bank is intended to fund infrastructure projects in emerging economies and developing countries, with each of the five countries contributing $10 billion. The bank will be headquartered in Shanghai, and its first president will be from India.

In addition to the planned development bank, the BRICS countries have also agreed to create a joint foreign reserve fund of $100 billion. The fund will assist these countries, by providing a well of foreign currency at the time of a future financial crisis.

With their growing presence, the attempt by these economies to take on important roles in assisting developing countries and maintaining the international financial order warrants recognition.

Behind the creation of the new development bank lies a strong sense of discontent among emerging and developing countries over the current U.S.- and Europe-led international financial order.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have long contributed to the world’s economic system, such as by assisting developing countries and working to check financial crises.

Yet in crucial times, such as Asia’s currency crisis in the 1990s, the two institutions imposed fiscal austerity and other strict conditions on developing countries, which led these countries to feel strongly dissatisfied over the institutions’ lack of consideration for their particular circumstances.

Lack of weight

The BRICS powers have grown to account for about 20 percent of the global economy, and for around 40 percent of the world’s population. Yet their combined contributions to the IMF, which reflect the force of their voices in the institution, constitute only 11 percent of the IMF’s total funding. The BRICS have also expressed opposition to the lack of weight they carry in the IMF.

The IMF has compiled a reform plan to raise the contribution ratio of the BRICS to 14 percent, but, due to opposition from the United States and other countries, this plan has yet to be realized.

It is necessary to promote IMF reform from the viewpoint of allowing the emerging economies to assume responsibility proportional to their economic might.

It remains to be seen whether these two new multilateral institutions can function as the Bretton Woods institutions have been doing.

The BRICS countries have not specified when these institutions will be established, and uncertainty remains over the concrete frameworks through which they will extend financial assistance.

It would be troublesome if the new development bank were to attach importance solely to expanding the natural resource interests or corporate profits of contributing countries, and to extend financial assistance without careful consideration.

There is also a likelihood that lax screening on loans and investments by the bank could lead to a massive increase of irrecoverable loans and investments, which would upset the international financial system.

No assistance should be extended to countries beset with records of suppressing human rights and overdevelopment of natural resources. Highly transparent management is a must for the new bank.

The BRICS countries are by no means a monolithic group.
The territory dispute between China and India is just one example of their differences.

It is also questionable whether the members can deal with financial crises and other problems through close cooperation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 22, 2014)


大陸棚延長 戦略的に海洋資源を開発せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Tap Japan’s extended continental shelf for strategic development of resources
大陸棚延長 戦略的に海洋資源を開発せよ

A move has been taken that is highly important for further consolidating Japan’s status as a maritime nation.

The government has decided to lay down an ordinance to designate two sea areas, including the area north of the island of Okinotorishima, which constitutes the southern extremity of the country, as part of the nation’s continental shelf. The ordinance will cover further two areas, such as that in the vicinity of the Ogasawara Islands, after consulting with the United States on the matter.

The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that each coastal state has sovereign rights over an area 200 nautical miles from the coastline as its continental shelf for exploring and developing resources, such as those on the seabed, and for other purposes. It is possible for a state under the convention to expand the limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles if and when it can prove that the extended continental shelf can be construed as having formed naturally.

The government’s plans for designating the continental shelf this time are in the wake of the acknowledgement in April 2012 by the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) that the expansion of the limits of the nation’s continental shelf should be recognized as valid.

The total area to be covered by the expansion of the nation’s continental shelf will stand at an estimated 310,000 square kilometers, equivalent to about 80 percent of the nation’s entire land area. It is said precious resources exist on the continental shelf including methane hydrate, which contains natural gas. The expansion of the oceanic interests of Japan, a country poor in natural resources, is definitely of high significance.

Commenting on the continental shelf expansion, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stressed, “It is possible that the resources from the expanded sea areas will have a great impact on the future of Japan.” It is also important from the viewpoint of ensuring this country’s energy security.

Objections from China, ROK

Resource developmental projects on the seabed, however, are extremely expensive and many technological challenges exist. Long-term plans should be formulated at the initiative of the government.

The CLCS, meanwhile, has been postponing judgment of Japan’s application seeking the U.N. body’s acknowledgement of the nation’s expansion of the continental shelf of the Southern Kyushu-Palau Ridge Region located to the south of Okinotorishima. This is because China and South Korea have opposed Japan’s submission of the application, claiming that Okinotorishima should not be deemed an island but “rocks,” meaning that it should not be considered a base point for determining the limits of Japan’s continental shelf.

Under the circumstances, the government should appeal to the international community to support the legitimacy of Japan’s assertion about the continental shelf expansion.

Around Okinotorishima is a vast exclusive economic zone, providing Japan with a wealth of marine products and seabed resources. The government should forge ahead with the task of preserving the island by pushing ahead with such projects as port and harbor construction.

China’s heavy-handed maritime advances are not limited to the East China and South China seas, but have been spreading to the western Pacific region. It has been pointed out that there is a possibility Beijing, on the strength of extending support for construction projects of ports and harbors to island states in the region, might build naval bases there in the future. Through these moves, China most likely has taken into account the U.S. military base on Guam.

Beefing up Japan’s efforts to ensure adequate oceanic administration in the seas in the environs of Okinotorishima, as well as such islands as Minami-Torishima and the Ogasawara Islands, will certainly have strategic significance on holding China’s moves in check.

In April last year, the government laid down the Basic Plan on Ocean Policy that is intended to serve as the basis of maritime measures for a period of five years. The plan sets key policy goals, including development of maritime resources, preservation and administration of remote islands, and technological development projects for oceanic, renewable energy sources.

By working closely with the private sector, the government should address these objectives from a broad range of perspectives.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 21, 2014)