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Even a final, irreversible deal can be broken

 投稿者:BattroidValkyrie  投稿日:2018年 1月22日(月)22時29分20秒
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South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha bows during a briefing on the 2015 South Korea-Japan 'comfort women' agreement on Jan. 9 in Seoul.

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – Can an international deal ever really be final? U.S. President Donald Trump seems to think the answer is "no," given his penchant for withdrawing from agreements made under President Barack Obama -- the Paris climate change accords, the Trans-Pacific Partnership on trade and (maybe) the Iranian nuclear deal.

But what about international agreements that actually declare themselves to be irreversible? That's the case with the 2015 Japan-South Korea deal that was aimed at ending once and for all the conflict between the countries over Korean "comfort women" forced into Japan's frontline brothels before and during World War II. The countries went so far as to say explicitly that "the issue is resolved finally and irreversibly."

Yet the two countries are now wrangling over the same issue again. A new South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, who belongs to a different party from his predecessor who signed the deal, is demanding a fresh apology. And Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is thinking about skipping the opening ceremonies at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Logically, it should be possible for parties to bind themselves permanently to certain agreements, from Catholic marriage to a compact between 13 states to form a union.

From a formal legal perspective, however, permanent agreements are tricky to create.

It's a principle of international law that states have the authority to withdraw from their agreements, including treaties. There's even a treaty saying so. Article 54 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties says that a state party can withdraw from a treaty according to its own provision or with the consent of all the parties to the treaty.

The Vienna principle leaves room for treaties that can't be broken. But they have to say explicitly that they are permanent.

In this way, permanent treaties are a bit like constitutional provisions that declare themselves unamendable. They are rare and solemn. But they aren't truly permanent -- because in practice, they can be breached or broken.

That's close to what is happening with the Japan-South Korea deal. Its text does indeed say it is final. But technically it wasn't a treaty, just an agreement. So South Korea isn't exactly breaching. It's revisiting -- in a way that clearly violates the spirit of the accord.

You can imagine Japan's frustration. Abe, who was prime minister when the deal was struck, specifically expressed "his most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women."

In Asian cultures, including Japan and South Korea, apologies still mean something in a way they don't always in the United States. Although it was morally imperative for Abe to apologize, he necessarily paid a domestic political price for doing so.

What Abe got in exchange for his apology (plus a ¥1 billion payment) was supposed to be closure. The South Koreans were expressly promising not to embarrass Abe or another Japanese prime minister.

The South Korean guarantee of future silence may have been morally doubtful. It isn't at all clear that a nation should agree to forgo future invocation of a terrible wrong done to its citizens -- no matter the political gain.

Nevertheless, a promise is a promise. And no one doubted at the time that South Korea was promising not to do exactly what it is now doing: raising the issue again in order to embarrass Abe and make domestic political hay out of nationalist resistance to Japan.

By deviating from its guarantee, the left-of-center South Korean government is signaling that it can't and won't see itself as fully bound by its right-of-center predecessor. In that sense, South Korea's government is taking a page right out of the Trump playbook.

And there's not much Japan can do about it. Abe is refusing to take further action. South Korea is insisting that it isn't really breaking the deal because it isn't seeking renegotiation. That's disingenuous, of course. Asking for a new apology is precisely an attempt to reopen what was described as irreversible.

Despite these postures on both sides, there's no simple recourse when a country breaks a deal. Japan wouldn't and can't go to war or impose sanctions over this. All it can do is fume -- and be careful not to rely too much on future deals with South Korea.

That's the lesson learned by the rest of the world over Trump's withdrawals, too. The word of the U.S. can't any more be expected to outlast a change in administration.

The contrast with the Cold War era of bipartisan, centrist foreign policy could hardly be greater.

Democracies face special challenges when it comes to creating coherent, continuous foreign policy. Shifting course radically every four or eight years is obviously a bad idea. As a norm, it's downright foolish.

The solution, however, doesn't lie in making international agreements -- at least not any more. They are increasingly made to be broken, as the Japan-South Korea kerfuffle demonstrates.

What we need is domestic consensus to do foreign policy sensibly. That remains some ways off in the U.S., and the stakes are much greater than apology and embarrassment.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2018/01/22/commentary/japan-commentary/even-final-irreversible-deal-can-broken/

 
 

平昌五輪:安倍首相は来る?来ない? 日本でも情報錯綜

 投稿者:BattroidValkyrie  投稿日:2018年 1月20日(土)19時25分57秒
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   平昌冬季五輪開幕まであと二十日となり、各国首脳クラスの外賓たちの出席が当初の予想より低調ではないかとの懸念が高まっている。特に、米国・中国の首脳の出席が事実上、なくなったなか、韓半島(朝鮮半島)周辺の主要4カ国首脳のうち、日本の安倍晋三首相だけが出席するかどうかをはかりに掛けている。

 日本の政界・官界からの情報も錯綜(さくそう)している。今月15日にブルガリアを訪問中だった安倍首相は「慰安婦問題は解決した。(平昌五輪期間に行われる通常)国会日程を見ながら検討したい」と述べた。「慰安婦合意で問題が解決していない」という文在寅(ムン・ジェイン)大統領の言葉に真っ向から反論するものと受け止められており、日本のメディアは「欠席に傾いている」と解釈した。

 しかし最近、自民党のベテラン議員が「国会日程は調整することができ、国益のためには安倍首相は出席しなければならない」と主張、空気の変化が見られる。

 日本の外交消息筋は「2020年の東京五輪時に文大統領を招待しなければならい安倍首相としては、頭の中が混乱していることだろう」と話す。韓国政府の慰安婦合意関連発表や、日本国内の世論を考えれば、負担になることばかりだという意味だ。

 韓国外交部(省に相当)は19日、政府業務報告で、「平昌五輪には20数カ国の首脳級の外賓が出席する予定だ」と述べた。同部の康京和(カン・ギョンファ)長官が先月、「首脳級が出席する意向を明らかにした国は43カ国だ」と述べたのと比べると、約半数にしかならない。外交部当局者は「43カ国は出席する『可能性』を表明した国であり、このうち20カ国で首脳級の出席が事実上確定したものと考えればよい」と説明した。

 この20数カ国の大半は欧州諸国だという。ドイツやフランスのほか、ノルウェー・オランダ・カナダなどから首脳級の外賓が出席する可能性が高いと伝えられている。

http://www.chosunonline.com/site/data/html_dir/2018/01/20/2018012000285.html

 

K-pop v history, Despite diplomatic rows, Japan and South Korea are growing closer

 投稿者:BattroidValkyrie  投稿日:2018年 1月19日(金)19時40分26秒
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  The young do not care as much about colonialism


YU MYUNG-SU and his friends have been fans of Japanese culture for as long as he can remember. The 24-year-old South Korean spent years watching Japanese cartoons, films and dramas before moving last year to the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. There he has discovered new charms. "Japanese service culture is really the best," he says.

Mr Yu’s enthusiasm is reciprocated by young Japanese; many are into K-pop, for example. BTS, a South Korean boyband of seven mop-tops of varying degrees of bleaching, who re-record all their tracks in Japanese, was the highest-selling foreign act in Japan last year. (The acronym stands for the Korean for "Bulletproof Boy Scouts").
Japanese fans snapped up 270,000 copies of one of its offerings in just one day. Meanwhile, sparse, noir-ish detective novels by Keigo Higashino, a Japanese crime writer, accounted for three of the ten best-selling works of fiction in South Korea last year. Several South Korean directors have made films based on his books.

The cultural affinity of young South Koreans and Japanese stands in stark contrast to the animosity between the two countries’ politicians. The neighbours have much in common culturally, and share strategic interests in Asia.
But since establishing formal diplomatic ties in 1965, two decades after the end of Japan’s colonial rule of Korea, relations have oscillated between bad and worse.

Ties deteriorated again this month when South Korea undermined an agreement of 2015 that was supposed "finally and irreversibly" to have settled the thorniest dispute of all, over the "comfort women" -- South Koreans forced during the war to work in Japanese military brothels.
The government of Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s president, asked Japan for an apology (already given) and implied that Japan had not paid enough compensation by saying it would match the ¥1bn ($8m) Japan is providing to support the last surviving victims. In response, Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, suggested that he would skip the opening of the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month.

Colonial history is the main cause of the bad blood between the governments. The Japanese grumble that the South Koreans are emotional, renege on agreements and have made hostility to Japan part of their national identity.
South Koreans retort that the Japanese are reluctant to face their wartime past, especially under Mr Abe, who is seen as a revisionist. There is some truth to both narratives, but the diplomatic back and forth has become petty. "I feel sold out by both," says Lee Ok-seon, a 91-year-old former comfort woman.

America, the closest foreign ally of both countries, is frustrated too. Closer co-operation is needed to counter China, whose regional hegemony is feared by both countries, and to rein in North Korea, whose missiles threaten them both (and the American bases they host).
In 2016 Japan and Korea agreed to share intelligence on North Korea. Ties are deepening between their armed forces, too. But much more could be done, says an adviser to the American armed forces in Seoul.

History matters to the young, too, but not as much as to the old. Youth in both countries have more favourable views of the other than older generations, polls say. Japanese of all ages feel more affinity with South Koreans than with Chinese; South Koreans in their 20s have warmer feelings towards the Japanese than the Chinese, unlike older people.
Some are even trying to repair relations. In December young South Korean and Japanese students met in Seoul to discuss "the difference in ways of thinking" about comfort women, says Kaho Okada, a Japanese participant.

Meanwhile, cultural ties are growing. A record 7.1m South Koreans visited Japan last year, while South Korea was the most popular tourist destination for Japanese.
Kim Ji-yoon of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a research outfit in Seoul, reckons changing attitudes herald better relations in the future. (It helps that the 31 surviving South Korean comfort women have an average age of 91.) "When I talk to my Japanese friends, we don’t argue over whose land is whose," laughs Mr Yu.

https://www.economist.com/news/asia/21735068-young-do-not-care-much-about-colonialism-despite-diplomatic-rows-japan-and-south-korea-are

 

Banyan、Why modern Japan's founding moment still divides a nation

 投稿者:BattroidValkyrie  投稿日:2018年 1月18日(木)18時46分9秒
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  The Meiji restoration initiated not just modernisation, but also militarism


THE story of Japan's modernisation began 150 years ago this month, when a band of young samurai and their allies overthrew the Tokugawa shogunate and with it seven centuries of feudal rule. Under the shoguns (military rulers), merchant and cultural life—centred upon bustling Edo—had been far from stagnant, as the stunning woodblock prints of Hokusai and Hiroshige attest. But Japan had for more than two centuries been closed and inward-looking. Its stratified society was absurdly rigid.

Above all, the warrior class was ill-equipped to deal with the growing threat posed by the gunboats of America and other Western countries, which had been sailing into Edo Bay and forcing the shoguns to sign treaties opening the country to foreign trade. The contest was unequal. The West had ironclad vessels and the latest guns. The samurai had ceremonial armour with face masks designed to show off impressive false moustaches.

The leaders launched their coup with the slogan "Revere the emperor, expel the barbarians". For the first part, they called on tradition. They put the imperial line, hitherto mere props in Kyoto, back at the centre of the polity.
They brought the 12-year-old emperor, Mutsuhito, up to Edo (now renamed Tokyo, or Eastern Capital), affirmed his unbroken descent from the sun goddess and claimed to rule on his behalf. Mutsuhito died in 1912; posthumously he was given the title of Emperor Meiji. Hence the name for the coup: the Meiji restoration.

As for the second part, far from expelling the barbarians, the new leaders embraced them. In April 1868 a famous "Charter Oath" decreed that "knowledge shall be sought throughout the world" to strengthen imperial rule.
Fifty high officials set off on a 22-month world tour to take in everything they could about American and European government, industry, trade, education and warfare. Back in Japan they launched a frenzy of industrial development, administrative reform and military modernisation not even matched by China's more recent headlong growth. The Meiji restoration was actually a revolution.

For Shinzo Abe, Japan's current prime minister, the restoration resonates. Mr Abe comes from Yamaguchi, known in feudal times as Choshu. Leaders from Choshu were at the head of the revolution. Mr Abe once told this columnist he identified with them because they did "not simply look inward, but looked…to the world's wider horizons".
The Choshu men, he explained, saw the threat from Western imperialism. Japan's harsh choice was either to be the meat served at a Western banquet or a guest at the table. By modernising, Japan became the only big country in Asia to safeguard its independence. It joined the Western high table.

Mr Abe sees lessons in all this, and since he came to office in 2012 he has appeared to be in a tearing hurry to implement them. At home Japan is imperilled by a weak economy, a risk-averse establishment and an ageing, shrinking population. Overseas, China threatens Japan not just in economic terms but, as it grows more assertive, militarily too.
A revived economy (with more opportunities for women at work), a vigorous diplomacy and, notwithstanding the constraints of a pacifist post-war constitution, a stronger defence are to him the right responses. (They also help confront the threat posed by a nuclear North Korea.)

The government has gone all-out to promote the 150th anniversary, starting with a push in 2015 to acquire UNESCO "world heritage" status for various spots important in the ensuing industrial revolution. One striking site is Hashima, an island off the coast near Nagasaki that sits above a former coal mine, operated by the Mitsubishi conglomerate, that ran under the sea bed.
It was once the most densely populated spot on Earth, housing miners and the families. (Today its post-apocalyptic ruins are best known as the lair of James Bond's nemesis in "Skyfall".)

The government website celebrating the Meiji restoration idealises the period as one of grass-roots change and human rights as much as innovation. Yet for ethnic groups whose territory was annexed and culture stifled, such as the Ainu in the north and Okinawans in the south, it was not much fun.
The rank-and-file in the new conscript army were brutalised. Workers in the mines and mills led harsh lives. And women, points out Tomomi Yamaguchi of Montana State University, were kept down. They could not vote, divorce or own property. Most Japanese women find little appeal in the nostalgic push by Mr Abe's Liberal Democratic Party to return to the Meiji era's "family values".

Don't mention the war

There is another problem. The Meiji restoration sowed the seeds of Japan's 20th-century aggression. The first war dead whose souls were honoured at Tokyo's Yasukuni shrine, later controversial for honouring war criminals, were those who died fighting for the restoration (though even the losing side was supposedly fighting for the emperor).
The authoritarian constitution of 1890, borrowed from that of Bismarck's Germany, fostered emperor-worship and glorification of the armed forces—powerful features of Japan's war machine.

By the time of Japan's defeat in 1945 thousands of Koreans and Chinese had been forced to work the mines in Hashima, among many other sites. Mr Abe's government, after much resistance, promised UNESCO it would reflect this history. Yet on Hashima neither the guides nor the pamphlets and signs refer to it. Members of Mr Abe's government, and at times the prime minister himself, seem to deny the existence of forced labour at all.

You can see the conundrum without sympathising with it. Those, like Mr Abe, who are less than frank in acknowledging Japan's wartime past, are worried about pulling on a thread. No clear event, no Reichstag fire, marked the moment when the country lurched into militarism. If aspects of what the Meiji restoration wrought come into question, what is there left to be proud about? The quest to find a modern identity for Japan continues.

https://www.economist.com/news/asia/21734404-meiji-restoration-initiated-not-just-modernisation-also-militarism-why-modern-japans

 

Tokyo rejects Seoul's demand for additional measures on 'comfort women'

 投稿者:BattroidValkyrie  投稿日:2018年 1月17日(水)18時29分23秒
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  VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – Foreign Minister Taro Kono on Tuesday rejected a South Korean request that the Japanese government take additional measures over the issue of Korean women who were forced into Japan's wartime military brothels.

Japan "can by no means accept" such a request, apparently including a fresh apology by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the "comfort women," Kono told his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, on the sidelines of a 20-nation ministerial meeting on North Korea in Vancouver, British Columbia, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Kono was quoted by the ministry as telling Kang that Seoul must steadily implement the 2015 landmark bilateral agreement to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the protracted row over the former comfort women, an issue related to Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Kang invited Abe to visit South Korea for February's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and Kono responded that the Japanese government will consider the offer by taking into account Diet schedules and other matters involving the prime minister, it said.

It was the first time that Kono and Kang have met since South Korea on Jan. 9 unveiled its new policy on the bilateral accord, struck between the Abe government and the administration of President Moon Jae-in's predecessor, Park Geun-hye.

The rift over the accord clouds relations between the two U.S. allies in the face of the rising threat posed by North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

Under the new policy, South Korea will not seek to renegotiate the agreement with Japan, but wants Tokyo to do more for former comfort women.

On Jan. 10, Moon said Japan should "apologize with a sincere heart" over the issue and pledge that such cases will never happen again. Kang stressed what the victims really want is a "voluntary and genuine apology."

During the 45-minute talks Tuesday, Kono and Kang reaffirmed bilateral cooperation in maximizing pressure on North Korea to compel it to take specific action toward denuclearization, according to the ministry.

They agreed to ensure close coordination bilaterally and trilaterally with the United States in dealing with North Korea, including future dialogue between the two Koreas.

The ministers affirmed coordination in advancing overall bilateral relations in a "future-oriented" fashion, while appropriately managing "difficult issues" such as the one involving the former comfort women.

Kono demanded that the South Korean government take appropriate action against moves to erect in front of a Japanese diplomatic establishment in the country a statue symbolizing forced Korean laborers during Japan's colonial rule.

The Moon administration reignited tension with Japan in late December. A South Korean government-appointed panel said in a report that the Park administration had failed to reflect the comfort women's demands when negotiating the deal.

In line with the 2015 agreement, Japan provided ¥1 billion ($8.9 million) to a South Korean foundation set up to support former comfort women. Abe expressed "his most sincere apologies and remorse" to the victims.

Of the 47 former comfort women who were still alive when the agreement was reached, 36 or their next of kin have received or indicated their intent to receive money from the foundation.

South Korea, for its part, said that it "will strive to solve" the issue of a statue of a girl symbolizing comfort women in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul that Japan wants relocated. The statue still stands there.

Seoul also said it will refrain from accusing or criticizing Tokyo over the comfort women issue in the international community, including at the United Nations.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/01/17/national/politics-diplomacy/tokyo-rejects-seouls-demand-additional-measures-comfort-women/

 

【主張】 「謝罪碑」判決 虚偽がまかり通っている

 投稿者:BattroidValkyrie  投稿日:2018年 1月16日(火)17時26分17秒
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   これが韓国における、裁判の姿なのか。

 朝鮮半島で女性を「強制連行した」と虚偽を言い募った故吉田清治氏の「謝罪碑」を無断で書き換えた行為が公用物損傷罪などに問われた元自衛官、奥茂治被告に、韓国の大田地裁天安支部は懲役6月、執行猶予2年の有罪を言い渡した。

 公的施設にある物件を「損傷」したことを重くみたものだ。問題は被告が、審理や判決の詳細を把握できなかったことにある。

 問題の碑は、韓国中部・天安市の国立墓地「望郷の丘」に1983年、吉田氏が建立した。「強制連行」を指揮した一人として謝罪文を刻んだものだ。

 碑の建立時に朝日新聞は土下座する吉田氏の写真付きで報じたが、現在では同紙も吉田証言は虚偽だったと認め、関連記事を取り消している。強制連行説の破綻にもかかわらず、韓国では嘘がまかり通っているのだ。

 奥氏は昨年3月、石板を貼り付け「強制連行」の謝罪文を「慰霊碑」という文言に変えた。吉田氏の長男から委任を受け、「韓国人が吉田証言の嘘を知るきっかけになれば」という動機だった。

 奥氏は碑文改変の事実は認めたが、肝心の主張が判決にどう影響したか、判然としない。

 公判は昨年12月、検察側が懲役1年を求刑して即日結審した。最終意見陳述で奥氏は「碑文が虚偽であることは日本などで認定されている」と訴えたが、この部分は通訳されなかった。

 判決の言い渡しは短時間で終わり、詳しい判決理由の全文はその場で被告側に示されず、開示は後日に回された。

 極めて異例、異常な裁判であるといえる。検察側は求刑で「慰安婦問題を歪曲(わいきょく)しようとし、韓日外交に新たな摩擦を生じさせる可能性がある」と指摘していた。碑文の真実性は、十分に吟味の対象だったはずである。

 奥氏が貼り付けた石板は国立墓地側がはがし、碑の横に「碑を書き換え、蛮行を隠そうとしても日本がわが民族を強制徴用し、蛮行を犯した行為は変わらない事実だ」と書いた看板が設置されているのだという。

 歴史を歪(ゆが)め、外交を妨げているのはどちらか。公判の場で事実を訴えるとした奥氏の主張は顧みられなかった。日本政府はこれを黙って見過ごしていいのか。

http://www.sankei.com/world/news/180116/wor1801160001-n1.html

 

EDITORIAL: Abe needs to focus on Japan's future, not his reign in power

 投稿者:BattroidValkyrie  投稿日:2018年 1月14日(日)16時59分51秒
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  This is the sixth New Year since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became state leader in December 2012 for a second time. Abe has remained in power for an unusually long time under the recent standards of Japanese politics.

The question, however, is whether he has spent his long time in power wisely and efficiently to build up meaningful political achievements.

It is difficult to argue, for instance, that he has tackled head-on the policy challenge of integrated reforms of social security and taxation systems during his five years in office. Such reforms are bound to be painful, more or less, for the public.

As for his long-cherished ambition to revise the Constitution, Abe appears to have been waffling, often changing the target provisions for amendments.

One of the factors behind his unimpressive policy performance has been his frequent calling of national elections.

HAPHAZARD POLICYMAKING

There have been five national elections since 2012, including the Lower House election in December that year, which led to his return to power.

That translates into about one election per year. There have been two scheduled Upper House elections (held once in three years) during the period. In 2014 and 2017, Abe dissolved the Lower House for a snap election in a high-handed move to bolster his political standing.

Abe has altered the top policy priorities of his administration almost every time an election was called.

It has been five years of so many changes in key policy themes.

Ironically, the Abe administration has been acting with a very short-term policy agenda despite its longevity. Or is it because he has sought to long remain in power?

This is also a long-festering problem with Japanese politics. But excessive shortsightedness in politics inevitably harms the health of democracy.

In December last year, Japan Akademeia, an opinion group of people from the academic, business and labor communities, and other organizations held a symposium titled, "Where is advanced democracy going?"

Participants mainly discussed notable political trends in the United States and Europe, such as the spread of populism and the decline of mainstream political parties. As a main problem with Japanese politics, they pointed out, unsurprisingly, the haphazard and ad-hoc approach to policymaking.

"Staying in power itself has become the purpose, resulting in a lack of long-term perspectives and consistent programs for the entire period of governing by an administration," said Jun Iio, a professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

What are the consequences of this tendency?

Symposium participants argued that it hampers efforts to tackle such long-term policy challenges as fiscal rehabilitation and global warming.

These policy themes need to be dealt with within long-term time frames. A policymaking approach focused solely on short-term goals would only pass the problems to future generations who have yet to be born.

SILVER DEMOCRACY?

A word that describes one aspect of nearsighted politics in this nation is "silver democracy."

In Japan, elderly people account for a large portion of the voting public, and they are more likely to go to the polls than young people.

That means Japanese politicians must pay close attention to the voices of aged voters, who have massive collective influence on election results.

If, as a result, social security policy is designed in favor of elderly voters, disparities between generations in welfare benefits will widen.

Such an unbalanced social security policy would put a long-term strain on state finances, creating serious problems for the future.

There are, however, intriguing data concerning this issue.

Last summer, Tastuya Kameda, a professor in experimental social science at the University of Tokyo, and Yoshimatsu Saito, a student at the university's graduate school, conducted a political survey of 2,000 voters in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward.

Elderly respondents showed a stronger interest than their younger counterparts in policy issues concerning "sustainability," such as Japan's budget deficit and global warming.

Much the same was true regarding a willingness to play an active role for the interests of future generations.

Kameda said elderly people seem to have a role to play in realizing equality between the current and future generations, citing past research showing that old people tend to be less likely to make shortsighted decisions than children or university students.

If so, the "silver democracy" may be only a result of politicians' misguided attempts to curry favor with old voters, rather than a consequence of selfish voting behavior of the elderly population.

This may be another evil of nearsighted politics preoccupied with short-term political gains.

FOR OUR OWN OFFSPRING

Bureaucrats once placed primary importance on the continuity and consistency of policies if politicians were constantly seeking the support of the public by responding sensitively to changes in their demands.

But this traditional division of roles has been obscured by the stronger policymaking leadership of the prime minister's office.

We need to come up with new ideas to secure a long-term perspective for the democratic process of policymaking.

Various ideas have already been proposed.

Regarding fiscal reform, it has been suggested that an independent and neutral agency of nonpartisan experts be created to rigorously monitor and assess the government's fiscal discipline.

It has also been proposed that the electoral system be revamped to choose representatives of each generation so that young people's voices are more reflected in policy decisions.

In debate on the Constitution in recent years, the argument for measures to restrict the Cabinet's power to dissolve the Lower House as a way to prevent frequent national elections has been gaining traction.

Germany's Basic Law, the nation's effective constitution, refers to the state's "responsibility toward future generations." In a revision made in 1994, the protection of "the natural bases of life" was stipulated as a national policy goal.

Although Japan's Constitution doesn't contain such provisions, it is not inattentive to the interests of future generations.

In its preamble, the Constitution says, "we (the Japanese people) shall secure for ourselves and our posterity the fruits of peaceful cooperation with all nations and the blessings of liberty throughout this land."

Article 11 says, "These fundamental human rights guaranteed to the people by this Constitution shall be conferred upon the people of this and future generations as eternal and inviolate rights."

It seems that the Constitution calls upon us to look ahead to the future.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201801020020.html

 

【産経抄】 背信違約は彼等の持前にして 1月11日

 投稿者:BattroidValkyrie  投稿日:2018年 1月11日(木)17時55分2秒
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   「福沢諭吉が現代に蘇(よみがえ)ったら、何と言うだろうか?」。帯紙の惹句(じゃっく)にひかれて読み始めた。拓殖大学学事顧問、渡辺利夫さんの新刊『決定版 脱亜論』(育鵬社)である。「我(わ)れは心に於(おい)て亜細亜東方の悪友を謝絶するものなり」。

 ▼福沢は明治18(1885)年に発表した「脱亜論」をこう結んだ。福沢は、朝鮮の近代化をめざす開化派のクーデターを支援していた。しかし、清の介入によって失敗に終わる。悪友とは、清と朝鮮を指す。

 ▼一部の福沢研究者は、「脱亜論」をアジアへの侵略主義の表れと批判する。渡辺さんの見方は違う。開化派への心情的な思い入れを改め、朝鮮半島の問題に現実的に対処しよう。これが福沢の真意だという。実際、福沢は「謝絶」することなく、朝鮮論を書き続けている。

 ▼韓国と北朝鮮による南北対話が始まった。韓国の文在寅(ムン・ジェイン)大統領は、記者会見で首脳会談の可能性にまで言及した。平昌五輪への参加を表明した北朝鮮の術策に、まんまとはまったようにも見える。対話は、核・ミサイル開発を進める時間稼ぎに使われるのではないか。

 ▼慰安婦合意をめぐる日韓合意に対する、韓国政府の新方針については、あきれるしかない。日本政府が拠出した10億円を凍結して、同額を韓国政府が負担するというのだ。合意の骨抜きが狙いだろう。日本大使館前の慰安婦像については、解決するよう努力する。そんな約束を守るつもりは最初からなかった。

 ▼福沢は「脱亜論」から10年余で、ついに朝鮮を突き放す。「左(さ)れば斯(かか)る国人に対して如何(いか)なる約束を結ぶも、背信違約は彼等の持前(もちまえ)にして毫(ごう)も意に介(かい)することなし」(「事実を見る可(べ)し」)。その覚悟で韓国との付き合いに臨め、と福沢は言うだろう。

http://www.sankei.com/images/news/180111/plt1801110004-p1.jpg

http://www.sankei.com/politics/news/180111/plt1801110004-n1.html

 

EDITORIAL: Tokyo, Seoul must focus on goals of comfort women pact

 投稿者:BattroidValkyrie  投稿日:2018年 1月10日(水)22時06分2秒
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  The Moon Jae-in administration's announcement on Jan. 9 of its official position on a landmark agreement between the South Korean and Japanese governments regarding "comfort women" left us wondering.

The announcement failed to convey how the South Korean government intends to act in the days ahead.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha stated in no uncertain terms that South Korea will not seek to renegotiate the agreement, which was concluded in December 2015. This was wise of the South Korean government, as it forms the foundation of a future-oriented relationship between Japan and South Korea.

But on the other hand, Kang indicated South Korea's policy to make changes to the most crucial part of the agreement, which concerns providing aid to former comfort women.

Kang said South Korea will provide 1 billion yen ($8.86 million) to match the amount the Japanese government provided to the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation, which was established in Seoul to implement aid programs for the women.

Regarding the use of Japan's contribution, Kang said South Korea will "negotiate with Tokyo." As for the management of the foundation, she noted South Korea will decide after heeding the wishes of former comfort women and their support groups.

This will likely put the bilateral agreement in danger of deviating from its original purpose, which, as we understand it, was for both the Japanese and South Korean governments to explore how best to heal the emotional scars of the women.

The latest policy is not consistent with past developments.

In the 1990s, Japan started paying compensation to the women through the Asian Women's Fund, established jointly by the public and private sectors. But because the bulk of the funding came from private donations, there was criticism in South Korea that it represented an evasion of responsibility by the Japanese government.

This was acknowledged under the 2015 agreement, and Japan provided the 1 billion yen entirely from the government's budget.

If South Korea refuses to use the Japanese government funding for running the foundation's aid programs, the entire situation changes.

Last month, a South Korean research team answering to Kang issued a report to the effect that procedural flaws existed in the negotiations of the agreement.

President Moon later noted that "problems cannot be solved" under this agreement.

Will South Korea's official policy announced on Jan. 9 solve the problems? We think it highly questionable. In fact, we fear the problems could worsen.

The most important thing to bear in mind is to ensure the continuation of thoughtful and well-administered aid programs for former comfort women, for which Tokyo and Seoul must cooperate even more closely.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has said, "We do not intend to budge one millimeter (to change the agreement)," but it is unconstructive of Japan to react rigidly.

Through the Asian Women's Fund, generations of Japanese prime ministers sent letters of apology to former comfort women.

Japan should consider all positive options for maintaining the agreement, without being told by South Korea what to do.

With less than a month to go before the opening of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, a meeting of South Korean and North Korean representatives was realized at Panmunjom on Jan. 9.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula remains as volatile as ever.

Neither Tokyo nor Seoul has any time to waste by slackening their efforts to build a bilateral relationship that is based on a genuine commitment to human rights issues stemming from the past and willingness to work together on pressing issues.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201801100025.html

 

【南北会談】 北朝鮮、平昌五輪参加正式表明

 投稿者:BattroidValkyrie  投稿日:2018年 1月 9日(火)17時54分8秒
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   韓国と北朝鮮は9日、南北軍事境界線上の板門店の韓国側施設「平和の家」で、2年1カ月ぶりとなる南北当局間会談を開いた。韓国代表団は、北朝鮮が韓国・平昌冬季五輪に参加すると正式に表明したと明らかにした。首席代表は閣僚級で、南北会談は韓国の文在寅大統領の政権発足後では初めて。文氏は北朝鮮の五輪参加を実現させ緊張緩和につなげたい考えで、会談の行方は朝鮮半島情勢に大きく影響する。

 代表団の首席代表は韓国側が趙明均統一相、北朝鮮側は対韓国窓口機関、祖国平和統一委員会の李善権委員長。双方とも五輪関連部署の次官や幹部が含まれている。会談冒頭、趙氏は「急がず根気を持って臨み、良い結果を出したい」とし、李氏は「同胞に新年の素晴らしい結果を届けられるようにしたい」と強調した。李氏は会談の公開を提案したが、韓国側は非公開を要望した。











http://www.sankei.com/world/news/180109/wor1801090028-n1.html

 

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