Takamitsu Sawa


Takamitsu Sawa
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.
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 hurricanes, and especially...
Sep 20, 2011
End the grad student quotas
Starting in the 1991 academic year (April 1991 through March 1992), a number of leading national universities in Japan underwent major structural changes, led by the Law School at the University of Tokyo.
Aug 16, 2011
Too much local sovereignty?
Since the Democratic Party of Japan came to power in September 2009, the word "chiho bunken" (devolution) has been replaced by the new expression "chiiki shuken" (local sovereignty).
Jul 12, 2011
Advantage of taking notes
In the 2010 university entrance exams in Japan, the number of applicants for economics and business administration programs nationwide fell sharply amid a conspicuous rise in the number of applicants for medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, jurisprudence and teacher training — where students...
Jun 20, 2011
Living with national universities
In fiscal 2004, the state-run national universities in Japan were given the status of "corporations." The initial six-year "medium term" after this shift to "national university corporations" ended in fiscal 2009. The current fiscal year is the second year of the second medium term.
May 10, 2011
Our choice: profits or safety
As a scholar whose specialty includes energy economics and the environment, I am somewhat puzzled by the relatively small number of social scientists who look into problems concerning energy. Is it because they are afraid of clarifying whether they should be for or against nuclear power generation?
Apr 18, 2011
Crisis cost and opportunity
The most powerful earthquake in the nation's history struck the northeastern part of Japan on March 11. Even more devastating than the quake itself was the tsunami that followed, as it took more than 20,000 lives and destroyed countless structures.
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.
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.
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" was added...
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.
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 year, an extremely low figure compared with other...
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.
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...
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.
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.
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 Faculty of Economics.
May 10, 2010
Let 'elderly' get new start as firms force retirement
Japan's population is forecast to dwindle to less than 90 million by 2055 and the percentage of elderly (people at least 65 years old) will rise to 40.5 percent, according to median forecasts by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.
Apr 13, 2010
Could environmentalism really be communism in disguise?
KYOTO — Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, has published a book bitterly critical of environmentalists that has been translated into several languages. The original title of the book in Czech is "Modra, Nikoli Zelena Planeta," which literally translates as "blue planet, not green."...


Traditional folk rituals like Mizudome-no-mai (dance to stop the rain) provide a sense of agency to a population that feels largely powerless in the face of the climate crisis.
As climate extremes intensify, Japan embraces ancient weather rituals