Power Broker in Japan Is Unlikely to Be Indicted
( New York Times )

The kingpin of Japan’s governing party is not likely to face charges in an investigation into campaign finance, major Japanese newspapers reported on Wednesday. But it remains unclear whether he will be forced to step down over the scandal, which threatens to derail his party’s reformist agenda.

Still, the scandal, which broke late last year, has sapped public support for the prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, by making his fledgling government look tainted by the same corruption it had vowed to end.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・kingpin (ボーリング)ヘッドピン、中心人物、重要なもの
・corruption 堕落;、頽廃、汚職(動詞・形容詞:corrupt)

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Japan Unveils Plan for Growth, Emphasizing Free Trade in Asia
( New York Times )

Still struggling after its worst recession in generations, Japan announced a long-term growth strategy on Wednesday that aimed to tap into the dynamism of its Asian neighbors, create millions of jobs in new industries and drive economic expansion of at least 2 percent a year over the next decade.

The Japanese economy has eked out growth in the last two quarters as its mainstay exports have rebounded amid signs of recovery worldwide, particularly in China, the country’s biggest trading partner.

But a swelling public debt and a persistent decline in prices and wages are raising fears that Japan’s economic recovery could soon run out of steam. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has been under pressure since he took office in September to come up with a practical plan to reinvigorate Japan’s economy.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・struggle もがく、奮闘する
・tap 蛇口、栓(tap into〜:〜の栓を開ける、利用する)
・eke out 間に合わせる、かろうじて営む
・mainstay 頼みの綱、大黒柱
・persistent しつこい、根気強い
・reinvigorate 再び元気を出させる、再び活気づける(re+invigorate)

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Japan Rethinks a Dam, and a Town Protests
( New York Times )

The clatter of construction machinery still fills this forested
mountain gorge, where legions of men in hard hats busily pour
concrete, clear hillsides and erect a huge, unfinished bridge whose concrete supports tower over the valley floor like crucifixes in an immense graveyard.

It seems an apt analogy. Japan’s new government has suspended the $5.2 billion Yamba Dam being built here and turned this valley four hours north of Tokyo into a symbolic final resting place for the nation’s postwar order, which relied on colossal public works spending.

Decades of pouring concrete have been widely blamed in Japan for cluttering rural areas with needless dams and roads to nowhere. They have also saddled the country with the developed world’s largest national debt ― nearly twice its $5 trillion economy. Mr. Hatoyama' s party has vowed to replace Japan’s postwar “construction state” and the jobs it created with something closer to a European-style social welfare system.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・clatter 騒々しさ、騒々しい響き
・legion 軍隊、軍団、大勢
・apt 適当な、適切な
・analogy 類似、ひゆ

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Former Japanese Finance Minister Found Dead
( New York Times )

A former Japanese finance minister who stepped down after appearing to be drunk at an overseas news conference was found dead in his home Sunday, police said, ruling out foul play.

Shoichi Nakagawa was lying face down in bed when his wife found him in their Tokyo home, a spokesman for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department said on condition of anonymity due to police policy.

Investigators have ruled out foul play because the room was
undisturbed, and they were downplaying the likelihood of suicide. Determining a cause of death will likely ''take some time,'' the spokesman said, adding that an autopsy will be conducted as part of an investigation.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・metropolitan 首都の、大都市の
・determine 決定する、確定する、決心させる
・autopsy 検死、死体解剖

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With Bold Stand, Japan Opposition Wins a Landslide
( New York Times )

Japan’s voters cast out the Liberal Democratic Party for only the second time in postwar history on Sunday, handing a landslide victory to a party that campaigned on a promise to reverse a generation-long economic decline and to redefine Tokyo’s relationship with Washington.

Many Japanese saw the vote as the final blow to the island nation’s postwar order, which has been slowly unraveling since the economy collapsed in the early 1990s.

Political analysts expect Japan to remain a close American ally, but one that is more assertive and less willing to follow Washington’s lead automatically.

And some analysts have played down the rhetoric of Mr. Hatoyama, a bushy-haired former management professor, as a nod to his party’s left-leaning base rather than a firm pledge to alter dealings with the United States drastically. In recent interviews, Democratic leaders have insisted there will be no major changes in that relationship.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・decline 下落、衰退
・redefine 再定義する(define:定める、定義する)
・bushy ふさふさした(bush:やぶ)
・pledge 誓約; 担保
・alter 変える

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