Mar 21, 2011

Building a happy society means junking GDP myth

The mass media in Japan have played up the news of China’s gross domestic product exceeding, in U.S. dollar terms, Japan’s to become the second largest economy in the world after the United States. The Chinese figure would be twice as large, far exceeding ...

Feb 21, 2011

Swan dive into the strait dividing economic views

Since last April, I’ve been spending my weekdays in Hikone, a city of Shiga Prefecture located by Lake Biwa. One day, while driving to my university, I was surprised to find four black swans in the outer moat of Hikone Castle. These black swans, ...

Jan 17, 2011

Experts worth listening to

Each of the government’s ministries and agencies has its own deliberative council. Before the fiscal 2001 ministerial reorganization — on April 27, 2000 — the government adopted the basic plan for abolishing and integrating these councils and the like. (The expression “and the like” ...

Dec 20, 2010

Blame the pragmatic feel for DPJ's popularity slide

Ever since the Democratic Party of Japan came to power in September 2009, the DPJ administrations have turned out unexpectedly unpopular. There is no doubt that this is due in part to unfortunate events on diplomatic and security fronts. But why has the rate ...

Nov 16, 2010

Japan's narrowing lead

For quite some time now the mass media has been reporting pessimistic views of Japan’s future. March 1991 marked the end of an economic bubble and the start of economic stagnation. From then until 2009, Japan’s economy grew by an average 0.8 percent per ...

Oct 18, 2010

Japan's stingy approach to schools has not paid off

According to the World University Rankings 2010-2011, published by the Times Higher Education on Sept. 16, the number of Japanese universities ranking among the world’s top 200 dwindled to five from 11 the previous year. As a result, Japan relinquished its top position in ...

Sep 14, 2010

Higher education is worse since policy switch in 1991

For the past two decades, the education ministry has worked hard to reform Japan’s university system. In fiscal 1991, the ministry adopted the policy of giving priority to postgraduate programs, leading a number of national universities to change gakubu — traditional undergraduate-level entities such ...

Aug 16, 2010

Anti-global warming push also best for the economy

Until just recently the view prevailed that there was a tradeoff relationship between achieving respectable economic growth and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, most of which consist of carbon dioxide. This led to a wide debate on how to achieve both goals. A ...

Jul 19, 2010

Getting on the same page for 'third way' to recovery

“The third way” to economic recovery, as advocated by Prime Minister Naoto Kan, appears to have been misinterpreted by a columnist who wrote for the July 3 issue of Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a leading Japanese economic journal. In the article titled “What is the ...

Jun 9, 2010

Universities' risky business

Effective April 1 — the start of the new academic year — I became president of Shiga University, a “national university corporation” near Lake Biwa in Japan’s Kansai region. It is a relatively small institute consisting only of the Faculty of Education and the ...