Japan politics – Const Japan http://const-japan.com/ Sun, 25 Sep 2022 04:16:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://const-japan.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/icon-2021-07-05T131502.299-150x150.png Japan politics – Const Japan http://const-japan.com/ 32 32 Britain targets Pacific trading bloc in bid to boost ‘first priority’ by £18bn | Politics | New https://const-japan.com/britain-targets-pacific-trading-bloc-in-bid-to-boost-first-priority-by-18bn-politics-new/ Sat, 24 Sep 2022 23:00:00 +0000 https://const-japan.com/britain-targets-pacific-trading-bloc-in-bid-to-boost-first-priority-by-18bn-politics-new/ Britain is racing to complete talks to join an 11-nation Pacific-facing trade bloc with a combined GDP of £9trillion in a move that it is hoped could boost UK exports by £18bn of pounds sterling. Prime Minister Liz Truss said joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership was a “top priority”. In Japan, Mr Cleverly will attend the […]]]>

Britain is racing to complete talks to join an 11-nation Pacific-facing trade bloc with a combined GDP of £9trillion in a move that it is hoped could boost UK exports by £18bn of pounds sterling. Prime Minister Liz Truss said joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership was a “top priority”.

In Japan, Mr Cleverly will attend the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. During his visit to Korea, he will tour the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) bordering North Korea, and in Singapore he will outline the British vision for the region at a major summit.

He said: “As I begin my visit to the region in Japan, my thoughts are with the Japanese people as we remember the legacy of former Prime Minister Abe – their longest serving Prime Minister who brought our two countries.”

The UK has a long-term commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, as we seek to establish a larger and more persistent presence than any other European country.

“This will in turn boost economic development, strengthen trade ties and enhance security.”

His visit comes as the UK launches a major series of exercises in the Indo-Pacific. Members of the armed forces will train with their counterparts from Australia, Japan, Korea and other countries in the region.

The MoD says the Indo-Pacific is “essential” to the UK’s economy, security and “global ambition to support open societies”.

Four RAF Typhoon fighters and a Voyager air-to-air refueling aircraft took part in Exercise Pitch Black in Darwin, Australia.

Around 100 aircraft and 2,500 personnel from 17 countries took part in the epic training exercise.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Security and stability throughout the Indo-Pacific remains paramount, and with Pitch Black exercises and the continued presence of the Royal Navy in the Pacific, we We are able to demonstrate our commitment and our shared responsibility throughout the region and further strengthen our close ties with our friends and allies.

The Foreign Office said the visit of 53-year-old Braintree MP Mr Cleverly, who served as education secretary in the last era of Boris Johnson’s government, demonstrates the importance of ‘the Indo-Pacific tilt” – the UK’s policy to strengthen its influence in the region.

Britain describes Japan as its “closest security partner in Asia” and Japan has backed the UK’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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CDP and Ishin reach agreement to attack Kishida cabinet while it is down https://const-japan.com/cdp-and-ishin-reach-agreement-to-attack-kishida-cabinet-while-it-is-down/ Thu, 22 Sep 2022 06:31:00 +0000 https://const-japan.com/cdp-and-ishin-reach-agreement-to-attack-kishida-cabinet-while-it-is-down/ On September 21, the two largest opposition parties agreed to “fight together” on six issues at the extraordinary session of the Diet next month to put pressure on the now weakened administration of Fumio Kishida. The liberal-minded Democratic Constitutional Party of Japan and Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party), a conservative force based in the Kansai […]]]>

On September 21, the two largest opposition parties agreed to “fight together” on six issues at the extraordinary session of the Diet next month to put pressure on the now weakened administration of Fumio Kishida.

The liberal-minded Democratic Constitutional Party of Japan and Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party), a conservative force based in the Kansai region, reached an agreement ahead of the session scheduled for October 3.

The six points include helping victims of the Unification Church’s shady donation-selling practices and submitting a bill amending the Diet Act to require the Cabinet to convene an extraordinary session of the Diet within 20 days of receipt of such request.

The two parties will also cooperate in revising the Public Office Elections Act to rectify disparities in the value of votes by adding 10 lower house seats in some electoral districts while removing 10 seats in other constituencies. .

In addition, the parties will seek legislation to compel legislators to disclose how they spend 1 million yen ($6,900) in monthly stipend for transportation, communications and miscellaneous accommodation costs.

The stipend, called Diet members’ “second salary”, changed its name earlier this year, but lawmakers are still not required to keep receipts or compile reports on how they use the stipend. silver.

Jun Azumi, head of the main opposition CDP’s Diet Affairs Committee, and his counterpart from Ishin, Takashi Endo, agreed on the framework during a meeting at the Diet building.

“We would like to advance Japanese politics by having the largest and second largest opposition parties work together to create a tense political environment,” Azumi told reporters after the meeting.

Endo told reporters: “(Opposition parties) were at odds and ruling party members were rejoicing. This is how we have been until now. We would like to be united as much as possible.

The two parties have quite different ideologies, and their approaches to Liberal Democratic Party-led administrations have also been in stark contrast to each other.

The CDP, which emerged from the former Democratic Party of Japan, built its presence by directly confronting the government.

Ishin, whose slogan “Zeze hihi” means “What is good is good and what is bad is bad regardless of your position”, had pushed his policy by using party members’ personal connections with governments led by Shinzo. Abe and Yoshihide Suga.

Political observers say both parties are seeking to capitalize on the growing unpopularity of Cabinet Kishida.

The Prime Minister has been criticized for deciding to hold a state funeral for Abe and for failing to clarify the extent of the LDP’s ties to the Unification Church, now officially known as the Federation of the family for world peace and unification.

The CDP and Ishin did not cooperate in the Upper House elections last summer.

But after the LDP’s landslide victory in that election, CDP lawmakers increasingly believed cooperation with Ishin was necessary to keep pressure on Kishida’s government, observers said.

Ishin lawmakers now believe fighting with the CDP on certain policies would be beneficial as Ishin’s ties to the government have weakened, observers said.

(This article was written by Shohei Sasagawa and Tomoya Takaki.)

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Blunder or not, Biden’s remarks on defending Taiwan sow confusion https://const-japan.com/blunder-or-not-bidens-remarks-on-defending-taiwan-sow-confusion/ Tue, 20 Sep 2022 08:04:31 +0000 https://const-japan.com/blunder-or-not-bidens-remarks-on-defending-taiwan-sow-confusion/ Whether intentional or not, US President Joe Biden’s recent remarks on defending Taiwan raise questions about Washington’s approach to the democratic island – creating uncertainty and confusion about US policy at the moment. even where China is stepping up its military pressure on Taipei. For the fourth time since taking office, Biden this week appeared […]]]>

Whether intentional or not, US President Joe Biden’s recent remarks on defending Taiwan raise questions about Washington’s approach to the democratic island – creating uncertainty and confusion about US policy at the moment. even where China is stepping up its military pressure on Taipei.

For the fourth time since taking office, Biden this week appeared to upend the US policy of “strategic ambiguity” – under which the United States expresses a strong interest in Taiwan’s security while avoiding an outright promise. simple to defend it – delivering its most explicit comments yet that Washington would defend the self-governing island against Chinese attacks and hinting that it might support Taipei’s right to self-determination.

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Japan’s strict standards delay restart of nuclear reactors https://const-japan.com/japans-strict-standards-delay-restart-of-nuclear-reactors/ Sun, 18 Sep 2022 16:00:00 +0000 https://const-japan.com/japans-strict-standards-delay-restart-of-nuclear-reactors/ File photo of the Yomiuri ShimbunMembers of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority inspect the surface of a fault near the Shika nuclear power plant in Shika, Ishikawa prefecture on July 7. The Yomiuri Shimbun 1:00 p.m. JST, September 19, 2022 The reactivation of nuclear reactors has been delayed in Japan due to the fact that […]]]>

File photo of the Yomiuri Shimbun
Members of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority inspect the surface of a fault near the Shika nuclear power plant in Shika, Ishikawa prefecture on July 7.

The reactivation of nuclear reactors has been delayed in Japan due to the fact that the Nuclear Regulatory Authority has significantly tightened its rules relating to natural disasters and electric companies have had to take time to prove that their operations are safe in under the new system.

The NRA was established in September 2012 as a new nuclear regulator, in response to lessons learned from the 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Previously, the country’s nuclear power generation was regulated by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, an organization of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which promotes nuclear energy.

To rebuild the nuclear administration, which had lost public trust, the NRA was created as a satellite body of the Ministry of the Environment. Based on Article 3 of the National Government Organization Act, it can manage its personnel affairs and budgets independently.

The NRA has five commissioners and in 2013 introduced new regulatory standards, considered the strictest in the world, to strengthen measures against natural disasters. New intervention measures against severe accidents, such as reactor core meltdowns, have also been included.

A “rehabilitation” system has also been introduced, which forces nuclear reactors that have passed safety reviews in the past to meet the latest standards.

As of Friday, the NRA had held scouting meetings 1,073 times, totaling more than 3,000 hours. The screenings were prolonged because scientific opinions are divided on the assessment of faults and the tsunami on the sites, and it took several years to prove the safety of the plants.

Over the past 10 years, utilities have requested screening of 27 reactors. However, only 17 reactors passed and only 10 of these reactors were reactivated.

One of the reasons for the protracted selection process is said to be the lack of communication between the NRA and the power companies. The ANR therefore decided on September 7 to review the method of holding screening meetings to enhance their effectiveness.

A document will be produced to confirm that the electricity company concerned and the ANR share the agreements reached during a meeting. Other measures are to increase the number of meetings and to inform the parties concerned in advance of the points to be discussed and confirmed at a meeting.

However, NRA Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa said, “We cannot hope to shorten the selection period significantly.” indicating a sense of impasse.

Almost all scouting meetings can be viewed on YouTube. However, nuclear energy consultant Satoshi Sato criticized the NRA for misunderstanding the nature of transparency and openness.

“They have to make an effort to summarize the main points of the discussions,” Sato said. “If the points are made public, the utilities can all be aware of the issues and put them to good use in the projections.”

In response to the power shortage, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that a maximum of nine reactors are expected to be activated this winter and that he aims to restart seven more reactors from next summer which have already passed the selection process.

Fuketa will step down at the end of this month, leaving the NRA without a commissioner who knows the circumstances surrounding its creation. He will be replaced by commissioner Shinsuke Yamanaka, a specialist in nuclear fuel engineering.

Yamanaka’s leadership skills will be tested to see if he can build on the lessons learned from the 2011 nuclear accident and resume reactor operations without compromising safety.

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Want politics to be better? Focus on future generations. https://const-japan.com/want-politics-to-be-better-focus-on-future-generations/ Fri, 16 Sep 2022 13:00:00 +0000 https://const-japan.com/want-politics-to-be-better-focus-on-future-generations/ In 2015, residents of yahaba, a rural town in northern Japan, had to make a choice. The city’s water infrastructure was deteriorating, but rebuilding it would be expensive and would likely require higher taxes. Residents were unable to make a decision. In order to break the deadlock, they came together to attempt a bold new […]]]>

In 2015, residents of yahaba, a rural town in northern Japan, had to make a choice. The city’s water infrastructure was deteriorating, but rebuilding it would be expensive and would likely require higher taxes. Residents were unable to make a decision. In order to break the deadlock, they came together to attempt a bold new experience in the political imagination.

Residents began the meeting by discussing their current priorities: keeping taxes manageable while maintaining a clean and affordable water supply. Then came something more unusual: they donned ceremonial yellow robes and underwent a sort of “mental time travel.” Together, they imagined they had been residents of Yahaba since the year 2060, facing a water sustainability crisis brought on by their ancestors’ failure to properly invest in infrastructure. Struck by the vivacity of this vision, the people of Yahaba reached a consensus: they would increase the water tax rate by 6%, enough to sustain the supply.

from Japan future design The workshops, which have become a global phenomenon, still teach the same lesson: made to see our decisions through the eyes of our descendants, we can broaden and extend the horizon of policy-making, thinking beyond future terms policies. Yet most governments do not institutionalize the perspective of future generations.

It’s easy to think of the future of humanity as a bloodless abstraction, but the people of the future will live lives just as real as ours. Right now, none of these people have a say in the decisions we make that shape their world. The current generation rules like a clumsy despot over the generations to come. Our shortcomings on particular issues that jeopardize the future share this common cause: that future generations receive almost no consideration in our political decision-making. We should settle this.

The struggle to document covid-19 for future generations

Climate change provides a striking example of the need to consider the people of tomorrow. The average atmospheric lifetime of carbon dioxide is of the order of tens of thousands of years. When the damage accumulates over many successive generations, we will have had sufficient warning in advance.

Political myopia goes well beyond climate change. One hope amid the devastation of the pandemic was that governments would finally invest meaningfully in pandemic preparedness. This does not happen.

Eventually, our lack of seriousness in the face of pandemics will prove ruinous. We could see the coronavirus again, or worse, a modified pathogen with greater infectivity and lethality. And it’s not for lack of promising strategies: we could strengthen our international institutions for mobilizes quickly a common answer. We could stock advanced personal protective equipment or invest in a early detection network to find pathogens with pandemic potential in wastewater.

But we could also think longer term and protect future generations by institutionalizing their perspective in government. It won’t be easy. We literally cannot give them the right to vote or hear their voices. So we have to be creative. We will have to represent the interests of future generations like a parent caring for a child who cannot yet make decisions about his future. We can start with our moral and political culture. The people of the future play little role in today’s public discourse and attitudes. This must change: we must create widespread public concern for our descendants.

In the case of climate change, this shift in mentality is already underway. Where governments have implemented environmental reform, it has been through sustained conversation and advocacy around the world – ignited in the 1960s in books like Rachel Carson”silent spring“, to today’s ‘Fridays for Future’ youth protests led by Greta Thunberg. Environmentalists have championed ideas such as sustainability and the rights of future generations, and shown us how the consequences of our actions, such as carbon emissions and species extinctions, will not only affect the current generation, but more to come.

But beyond climate change, we are missing a focused movement united around future generations. We hardly ever discuss, in sober terms, the extinction level threats it could put our whole future at risk. And we seldom dare look beyond the next few centuries to consider the destiny of mankind through the fullness of time.

A movement for future generations could start by championing the use of forecasting in political decision-making. In major experience conducted with US intelligence agencies, subject matter experts scored no better than chance on multiple-choice questions about the outcomes of major world events. But other people – known as “superforecasters” – have reliably outplayed the crowd. Super-forecasters often lacked impressive expert credentials; they included a retired pipe fitter, a filmmaker and a former dancer. Their common thread was a set of principles and techniques: avoiding imprecision in favor of quantitative estimates, extrapolating from general trends, paying attention to “base rates” and the “external view”. Thanks to these skills, public forecasting sites such as Metaculus – mostly frequented by forecasting enthusiasts – were about a month ahead of predicting that the coronavirus outbreak would turn into a pandemic. Governments could create a forecasting agency made up of people trained in these skills, providing quantitative forecasts to other ministries. Foresight in politics is a rare art; we could make a science out of it.

Children live with climate catastrophe. That doesn’t mean they believe it.

Other concrete reforms could still help us take care of future generations. Since emerging technologies are likely to shape the lives of these generations, we need to ensure that our decision makers understand them. In the United States, the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment has played this role for more than 20 years, producing more than 750 nonpartisan reports on topics such as medical innovations and space technology. In 1995, however, it was cancelled. Today, major technology-related policy decisions in the United States are often shockingly ill-informed. This is particularly worrying given that we are seeing huge – and potentially very dangerous – changes in areas such as AI and synthetic biology. But the solution is at hand: we can relaunch expert advisory boards for relevant technologies.

We must also entrust someone with the task of representing the interests of future generations so that they cannot be ignored in political decisions. Could we scale Yahaba’s Future Design experiences to a country level? Introduce a perm citizens’ assembly for the future? An unprecedented legislative chamber?

We do not advance these suggestions with confidence. Any such proposal should be treated with extreme caution. Proxy representation can easily be co-opted by lobbyists and special interest groups. And bureaucratic complexity has real costs. California environmental impact assessments, for example, require proposed construction projects to meet environmental standards. It’s a noble idea, but this requirement can slow down the construction of affordable housing, leaving ever more people homeless or paying inflated rent. California’s homeless population has increased by approximately 40% since 2015 alone, making it the state with the largest homeless population and double the national average by population. If we are not careful, creating a well-meaning bill or office for future generations could easily make matters worse, becoming yet another tool for parties to pursue their short-term, justified interests. through opaque and partisan claims about the needs of future generations. .

But the right answer is not to give up and completely ignore future generations. We need reflection institutional experimentation, undertaken in a spirit of humility, incrementalism and exploration. As the residents of Yahaba have understood, it is time for a long-term policy.

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An Active Cyber ​​Defense Framework Could One Day Protect Japan https://const-japan.com/an-active-cyber-defense-framework-could-one-day-protect-japan/ Tue, 13 Sep 2022 05:03:00 +0000 https://const-japan.com/an-active-cyber-defense-framework-could-one-day-protect-japan/ File photo of the Yomiuri ShimbunPrime Minister’s Office The Yomiuri Shimbun 2:03 p.m. JST, September 13, 2022 Japan’s cyber defense is said to be vulnerable, so the government is considering the introduction of an active cyber defense framework, sources say. ACD continuously patrols and monitors cyberspace to quickly identify and respond to suspicious communications […]]]>

File photo of the Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister’s Office

Japan’s cyber defense is said to be vulnerable, so the government is considering the introduction of an active cyber defense framework, sources say.

ACD continuously patrols and monitors cyberspace to quickly identify and respond to suspicious communications and behavior that could pose security threats. The United States and the United Kingdom are among the countries that have adopted the framework as part of their approach to cyber defense.

The framework is an attempt to bolster the nation’s defense against cyberattacks on critical infrastructure such as telecommunications and the power grid, the government sources said.

The government is making arrangements to include the capability in the National Security Strategy which will be reviewed by the end of the year.

The main pillar of the framework is to give the government the power to regularly access systems and networks and to analyze suspicious communications. The ability to take countermeasures to neutralize attacker data is also being discussed as an option.

Cyberattacks can cause massive damage to infrastructure in a short period of time and lead to disruption in society. Currently, the government can only gather information and take action after damage has been done. There have been many calls within government and the Liberal Democratic Party for the introduction of ACD.

Under the current law on the prohibition of unauthorized computer access, except for criminal investigations, access to a third party’s system or network is illegal, even for the purpose of detecting cyberattacks or to identify their sources. The creation of malicious software to neutralize an attacker is also prohibited by the Penal Code.

The Constitution’s guarantee against violation of the “secrecy of any means of communication” has been interpreted as also applying to the Internet. To introduce the ACD, the government intends from next year to carefully develop the necessary legal system while taking into consideration people’s rights.

The government envisions ACD being jointly managed by the National Cyber ​​Security Incident Preparedness and Strategy Center and the Self-Defense Forces Cyber ​​Defense Command. The government also intends to increase the NISC and the FDS command, which currently numbers around 500 people.

Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began in February, cyberattacks were launched against Ukrainian government agencies and telecommunications companies. Thus, nations are working to develop cyber defense countermeasures.

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Okinawa re-elects governor who opposes US troop presence | Government and politics https://const-japan.com/okinawa-re-elects-governor-who-opposes-us-troop-presence-government-and-politics/ Sun, 11 Sep 2022 14:37:47 +0000 https://const-japan.com/okinawa-re-elects-governor-who-opposes-us-troop-presence-government-and-politics/ TOKYO (AP) — The outgoing governor of Okinawa, who opposes the ongoing relocation of the U.S. Navy base forced by Japan’s central government and calls for a further reduction of U.S. troops on the South Island, won re-election on Sunday despite fears of escalating tensions between China and neighboring Taiwan. Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki, who […]]]>

TOKYO (AP) — The outgoing governor of Okinawa, who opposes the ongoing relocation of the U.S. Navy base forced by Japan’s central government and calls for a further reduction of U.S. troops on the South Island, won re-election on Sunday despite fears of escalating tensions between China and neighboring Taiwan.

Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki, who is backed by opposition parties, was certain to win his second four-year term, according to exit polls from major Japanese media, including national television NHK and the agency release Kyodo. Polls took place on Sunday before his first four-year term ends later this month.

Tamaki and his supporters declared victory and celebrated with chants of “banzai” shortly after poll results showed he had beaten two contenders – Atsushi Sakima, backed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s ruling bloc , and another opposition-backed candidate Mikio Shimoji. The final tally of votes is expected later Sunday.

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Tamaki’s victory could escalate tensions between Okinawa and the central government.

The plan to move the US Marine Corps Futenma airbase from a crowded area to a less populated area of ​​the island has already been delayed for years. Okinawans call it new construction rather than a move and want the Futenma base closed and removed from the island.

“My commitment to solving the US military base issue for Okinawa’s future has never wavered,” Tamaki said. He said he would continue his efforts to convey Okinawa’s will to the central government.

During the campaign, Tamaki also promised to do more to improve Okinawa’s economy. Tourism on the semi-tropical island known for its corals, marine life and unique culture has been badly hit by the pandemic.

Resentment and frustration run deep in Okinawa over the heavy US presence and Tokyo’s lack of effort to negotiate with Washington on how to balance the burden of hosting US troops between mainland Japan and the group. of southern islands.

Okinawa, where one of the bloodiest battles of World War II took place, was under American occupation until it returned to Japanese control in 1972. Today, the majority of the 50,000 American soldiers based in Japan under a bilateral security pact and 70% of American military installations are still in Okinawa, which is only 0.6% of Japanese territory.

Due to US bases, Okinawa has struggled with noise, pollution, accidents and crime from US troops, Tamaki said.

The Japanese government has in recent years shifted the country’s defense posture to southwestern Japan, Okinawa and its outer islands and is working to significantly boost Japan’s military capability and budget over the next five to 10 years. , citing growing threats from China, North Korea and Russia.

Many in Okinawa worry about the increasing deployment of Japanese missile defenses and amphibious capabilities on outlying islands near geopolitical hotspots like Taiwan, the self-governing island that China claims as its own and has threatened to use force to destroy it. append if necessary. Okinawans fear they will be the first to be drawn into a dispute over Taiwan.

The plan to relocate the Futenma base was drawn up after the 1995 rape of an Okinawan schoolgirl, in which three US servicemen were convicted. The case reignited local opposition to US bases. The relocation has been delayed for years due to resistance from Okinawa as well as environmental and structural issues in the Henoko area, where the new base is supposed to be located.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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“A New Way of Life”: The Marxist, Post-Capitalist and Green Manifesto Captivating Japan | Japan https://const-japan.com/a-new-way-of-life-the-marxist-post-capitalist-and-green-manifesto-captivating-japan-japan/ Fri, 09 Sep 2022 21:01:00 +0000 https://const-japan.com/a-new-way-of-life-the-marxist-post-capitalist-and-green-manifesto-captivating-japan-japan/ Jhe climate crisis will spin out of control unless the world applies ’emergency brakes’ on capitalism and invents a ‘new way of life’, says a Japanese scholar whose book on Marxism and the environment has become a surprise bestseller. The message of Kohei Saito, associate professor at the University of Tokyo, is simple: capitalism’s demand […]]]>

Jhe climate crisis will spin out of control unless the world applies ’emergency brakes’ on capitalism and invents a ‘new way of life’, says a Japanese scholar whose book on Marxism and the environment has become a surprise bestseller.

The message of Kohei Saito, associate professor at the University of Tokyo, is simple: capitalism’s demand for unlimited profits is destroying the planet and only “degrowth” can repair the damage by slowing down social production and the sharing of wealth.

Concretely, this means the end of mass production and mass consumption of unnecessary goods such as fast fashion. In Capital in the Anthropocene, Saito also advocates decarbonization by reducing working hours and prioritizing essential “labour-intensive” jobs such as caregiving.

“I was as surprised as everyone”

Few would have expected Saito’s Japanese-language solution to the climate crisis to have much appeal outside of left-leaning academia and politics. Instead, the book – which draws on Karl Marx’s writings on the environment – has become an unlikely hit, selling over half a million copies since its publication in September 2020.

As the world faces growing evidence of the effects of climate change – from floods in Pakistan to heat waves in Britain – to runaway inflation and the energy crisis, Saito’s vision of a more sustainable post-capitalist world will appear in an academic text to be published soon. year by Cambridge University Press, with an English translation of his bestseller to follow.

Kohei Saito is a Japanese philosopher and researcher. Photography: Courtesy of Kohei Saito

“It’s basically about what’s happening in the world…the climate crisis and what we should be doing about it,” Saito said in an interview with The Guardian. “I plead for the decline and the overcoming of capitalism.”

The mere mention of global shrinkage conjures up negative images of wealthy societies plunged into a dark age of declining economies and falling standards of living. Saito admits he thought a book that draws on Marxism as a solution to modern-day ills would be a tough sell in Japan, where the same conservative party has dominated politics for nearly 70 years.

“People accuse me of wanting to go back to [feudal] Edo period [1603-1868] … and I think the same kind of image persists in the UK and the US,” he said. “In this context, that the book has sold over 500,000 copies is amazing. I was as surprised as everyone. »

The 35-year-old didn’t have to worry about using the language of radical change; As the world emerges from the pandemic and confronts the existential threat posed by global warming, disillusionment with the economic status quo has given it a receptive audience.

The pandemic has amplified inequalities in advanced economies and between the north and the south of the world – and the book has touched the nerves of young Japanese people.

the cover of Saito's academic text, Marx in the Anthropocene
Saito’s academic text, Marx in the Anthropocene, will be published later this year, with an English translation of his bestseller to follow.
Photography: Courtesy of Kohei Saito

“Saito tells an easy-to-understand story,” says Jun Shiota, a 31-year-old researcher who bought Capital in the Anthropocene shortly after it was published. “He’s not saying there’s good and bad in capitalism, or that it’s possible to reform it…he’s just saying get rid of the whole system.

“Young people have been hit hard by the pandemic and face other big issues like environmental destruction and the cost of living crisis, so this simple message resonates with them.”

Saito agrees that growing inequality has given his writing more immediacy. “A lot of people have lost their jobs and their homes and rely on things like food banks, even in Japan. I find that shocking. And you have essential workers who are forced to work long hours in low-paying jobs. The marginalization of essential workers is becoming a serious problem.

The response to Covid-19 has shown that rapid change is not only desirable, but possible, he says.

“One thing we’ve learned during the pandemic is that we can drastically change our lifestyle overnight – look at the way we started working from home, bought fewer things, flew and ate less in restaurants. We’ve proven that working less is kinder to the environment and leads to a better life. But now capitalism is trying to bring us back to a “normal” way of life.

“Marx was interested in sustainability”

Saito is deeply skeptical of some widely accepted strategies for dealing with the climate emergency. “In my book, I start a sentence by describing sustainable development goals [SDGs] like the new opium of the masses,” he said in reference to Marx’s view of religion.

“Buying eco-friendly bags and bottles without changing anything in the economic system… The SDGs mask the systemic problem and reduce everything to the responsibility of the individual, while obscuring the responsibility of corporations and politicians.”

“I found out how Marx was interested in sustainability and how sustainable non-capitalist and pre-capitalist societies are because they do the stationary economy, they are not growth oriented,” Saito said.

Since the release of the book, Saito has made Japan much less sensitive to the ideas of the German philosopher.

Conservative public broadcaster NHK gave him four 25-minute segments to explain his ideas for his Masterpiece in 100 Minutes series, while bookstore chains cleared space for special exhibitions of Marxist revivalist literature.

He now hopes his message will appeal to an English-speaking readership.

“We are facing a very difficult situation: the pandemic, poverty, climate change, the war in Ukraine, inflation… it is impossible to imagine a future in which we can grow the economy and at the same time live sustainably without fundamentally changing our way of life.

“If economic policies have failed for 30 years, why not invent a new way of life? The desire for it is suddenly there.

This article was last modified September 9, 2022. Capital in the Anthropocene was published in 2020, not 2000 as reported in an earlier version.

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Japan and India hold security talks amid major Russian drills | Government and politics https://const-japan.com/japan-and-india-hold-security-talks-amid-major-russian-drills-government-and-politics/ Thu, 08 Sep 2022 04:11:53 +0000 https://const-japan.com/japan-and-india-hold-security-talks-amid-major-russian-drills-government-and-politics/ By MARI YAMAGUCHI – Associated Press TOKYO (AP) — Japan and India are holding security talks between their foreign and defense ministers in Tokyo on Thursday, seeking to further strengthen their military ties amid growing tensions from China and Russia in the the region. Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada met his Indian counterpart Rajnat Singh […]]]>

By MARI YAMAGUCHI – Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan and India are holding security talks between their foreign and defense ministers in Tokyo on Thursday, seeking to further strengthen their military ties amid growing tensions from China and Russia in the the region.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada met his Indian counterpart Rajnat Singh before joining Foreign Ministers Yoshimasa Hayashi and Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in security talks later in the day. Japan and India held their first “2+2” security talks in 2019.

The meeting comes at a sensitive time when Russia is organizing a major multinational military exercise in its Far East, with the participation of China and India.

Tokyo has protested to Moscow over this, including the disputed Russian-held islands over which Japan claims sovereignty. Japan also expressed “serious concern” over naval gunnery exercises jointly organized by Russia and China off Japan’s northern coast over the weekend.

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Foreign Ministry officials said Japan had warned India against participating in exercises held on the disputed islands and that Indian troops only participated in ground exercises in other areas.

Japanese Foreign Ministry officials said on Wednesday that Japan wants to intensify joint military exercises and cooperation in the development and transfer of military equipment and technology with India.

Japan hopes to expand military equipment transfers to support its weak defense industry as the country tries to boost military capacity and spending to deter growing threats from China, Russia and North Korea.

Japan and India are discussing the joint development of unmanned ground vehicle technology, Japanese officials said. Japan’s earlier plan to sell sea-landing planes to India was delayed, partly by costs.

Japan also wishes to reaffirm India’s support for the promotion of a “free and open Indo-Pacific vision” which Japan is promoting with the United States within the framework of the quadrilateral which also includes Australia to counter the assertion of China in the region.

AP reporter Chisato Tanaka contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Japan continue to push Queensland https://const-japan.com/japan-continue-to-push-queensland/ Tue, 06 Sep 2022 06:36:00 +0000 https://const-japan.com/japan-continue-to-push-queensland/ The Palaszczuk government unveiled in the June state budget an overhaul of coal royalties, designed to capitalize on soaring coal prices, that will bring in $1.2 billion over four years. Previously, the highest royalty was 15% for prices over $150 per tonne. Under the new regime, which began July 1, a 20% royalty rate applies […]]]>

The Palaszczuk government unveiled in the June state budget an overhaul of coal royalties, designed to capitalize on soaring coal prices, that will bring in $1.2 billion over four years.

Previously, the highest royalty was 15% for prices over $150 per tonne. Under the new regime, which began July 1, a 20% royalty rate applies for prices above $175 per ton; 30% for prices over $225 per ton; and 40% for prices over $300 per ton.

BHP last month blamed rising royalties for suspending the company’s investment in coal projects in the Sunshine State.

Mr Dick defended the increase, saying he did not blame coal companies for making windfall profits amid soaring prices.

“They have the right to reap their fair share, just as the people of Queensland also have the right to reap their fair share,” he told parliament last month.

Mr Yamagami said he had encouraged Ms Palaszczuk last month to engage in consultations with Japanese companies operating in Queensland, and noted that Mr Dick had held a face-to-face meeting with some of those companies.

“While this is a step in the right direction, there is still a long way to go.
Japan will continue to follow this issue closely,” he said.

Yamagami said that alongside coal, gas exports were the cornerstone of the Japan-Australia partnership based on mutual trust.

The Japanese government, as well as South Korea, have also expressed concerns about the Albanian government’s possible action on the “gas trigger” to impose export controls on gas in response to a possible local shortage. .

Glad to hear assurances

North Asian powers are worried about the possibility of a gas supply disruption, as the global energy market is thrown into turmoil by the invasion of Ukraine by the Russia.

“We appreciate the concern and recognize the need to take action to secure power for affected industry, as well as the daily lives of people in Australia’s most populated areas,” Yamagami said.

“At the same time, due to disruptions in the international market due to factors such as Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Japan values ​​its partnership with Australia more than ever.

“I recently had a very good discussion with Trade Minister Don Farrell and Resources Minister Madeleine King on this issue and pointed out that Japan does not want the flow of LNG from Australia to the Japan is negatively impacted.

“I was pleased to hear assurances from both ministers that Australia will remain a dependable and dependable energy exporter to Japan.”

India’s High Commissioner to Australia, Manpreet Vohra, did not mention the increase in coal royalties in his speech, but noted that Australia’s biggest export to his country was metallurgical coal, as he urged increased trade and investment between the two countries in energy and resources. .

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