Jul 10, 2012

Completing one's education

Until only a few years ago, Japan prided itself on leading the world in the field of manufacturing. Industry as a whole is usually classified into four sectors: agriculture-forestry-fishery, mining, manufacturing, and services. (The mining industry is virtually nonexistent in resource-poor Japan, and coal ...

Jun 18, 2012

State of economic disparity in the age of dashed ideals

During the 1980s and 1990s, a number of countries were ruled by political parties upholding the credo of “market fundamentalism” as their governments vigorously pushed neoliberalism. From the standpoint of this philosophy, economic disparities between different countries and regions and income differences among individuals ...

May 21, 2012

Who will support aging Japan?

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore more than a decade ago adopted the growth strategy of making the medical industry the core of the nation’s industrial development. Lee, the eldest son of the city state’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew, ...

Apr 10, 2012

Energy conservation is key

If all the reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture remain offline, and if approval is not given for restarting the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture ...

Mar 19, 2012

Color GDP growth green

It is often said that the 21st century is the “century of the environment.” This means two things: One is that the environmental problems of this planet, especially climate change and global warming, have become so serious that they are attracting more people’s attention; ...

Feb 27, 2012

Tradeoff in nuclear power

Trade and industry minister Yukio Edano was quoted by a major vernacular paper earlier this year as saying that the government is contemplating changing the policy of promoting nuclear power generation as a national project in which operations are entrusted to private sector electric ...

Jan 23, 2012

More crucial than English

On Nov. 21, 2011, the Government Revitalization Unit (GRU) took up the issue of reform of Japan’s university system. Five themes were presented by GRU members: (1) Is the quality of Japan’s university education deteriorating by global standards even as total revenues and expenditures ...

Dec 19, 2011

Motivation for college study

These days we often hear that there are two signs that the Japanese people, especially youths, have become inward-looking: The number of Japanese students going overseas for study has declined sharply, and far fewer employees in the public and private sectors are willing to ...

Nov 15, 2011

Scientific mind meltdown

In a survey conducted more than 10 years ago, Chikio Hayashi, former director of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, polled people’s opinions toward the statements of two hypothetical airlines with regard to airplane accidents. Company A: “Our airplanes have never been involved in a ...

Oct 17, 2011

The ethics of compensation

On the evening of Sept. 10, I watched a NHK “Special” television program titled “The Ultimate Choice: Michael Sandel’s global classroom.” The theme of the 75-minute program was who should pick up the bill for reconstructing areas devastated by natural calamities like earthquakes and ...