Young Japanese Raise Their Voices Over Economy
( New York Times )

A group of young people recently gathered in a darkened park here. Holding placards and megaphones, they chanted slogans condemning the Japanese government and a lack of jobs and opportunity.

The scene, which is repeated often in the gritty Tokyo neighborhood of Koenji, is nothing close to the protests that have recently shaken Iran. Indeed, the protests would hardly raise an eyebrow in most parts of the world, but in this country, which values conformity, they represent a stark departure from the norm. Since the 1960s, when youth protests turned violent, even the mildest form of protests by young people has been viewed as taboo.

But the pain of recession is changing that, giving rise to a new activism among Japan’s youth, who have long been considered apathetic.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・stark むき出しの、全くの
・departure 出発、離反
・recession (景気などの一時的)後退、不況、退場
・activism 行動主義

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | 日本−社会



A Workers’ Paradise Found Off Japan’s Coast
( New York Times )

If Marxism had ever produced a functional, prosperous society, it might have looked something like this tiny southern Japanese island.

At first glance, there is little to set Hime apart from the hundreds of other small inhabited islands that dot the coasts of Japan’s main isles. The 2,519 mostly graying islanders subsist on fishing and shrimp farming, and every summer hold a Shinto religious festival featuring dancers dressed as foxes.

But once off the ferry, the island’s sole public transportation link to the outside, visitors are greeted by an unusual sight: a tall, bronze statue of Hime’s previous mayor, rare in a country that typically shuns such political aggrandizement. Rarer still is that the statue was erected by his son, who is the island’s current mayor.

And it is not just the cult-of-personality politics that smack of a latter-day workers’ paradise. This sleepy island, just off Japan’s main southern island, Kyushu, has recently come under unaccustomed national media attention for a very different reason: it invented its own version of work-sharing four decades before the current economic crisis popularized the term.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・subsist 生存する、やっと暮していく
・shun 避ける
・aggrandizement (権力、地位などの)強化
・cult 狂信的宗教、熱狂、(個人)崇拝
・smack 味・気味がある
・accustom 慣らす

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | 日本−社会



In Japan, New Jobless May Lack Safety Net
( New York Times )

Koji Hirano said his “mind went blank” with disbelief when he and other workers at a Canon digital camera factory in this southern city were suddenly called into a cafeteria in late October and told they were being laid off.

The shock turned to fear when they were also ordered to vacate their employer-provided apartments, a common job benefit here. With no savings from his monthly take-home pay of as little as $700, he said, he faced certain homelessness.

The current economic crisis has spread joblessness and distress
across the world, and Japan has been no exception -- with output plunging at historic rates, the unemployment rate leapt to 4.4 percent in December from 3.9 percent the month before. But what has proved more shocking has been the fact that so many of those laid off have been so vulnerable, with hundreds and perhaps thousands finding themselves cast into the streets.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・vacate 空にする、立ち退く
・benefit 利益、(社会保障制度による各種の)給付
・distress 苦痛、苦悩(の種)、貧窮
・plunge 突っ込む、投げ込む、急落する
・vulnerable 傷つきやすい、(非難・影響などを)受けやすい

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NPA probes 19 over slander on comedian's blog
( Japan Times )

In a rare Internet crackdown, police have turned over to prosecutors their case against a 29-year-old woman and plan to hand another 18 suspects over for abusive comments posted on the blog of a 37-year-old Japanese comedian, police sources said Thursday.

The 29-year-old Kawasaki woman allegedly posted a death threat on the blog of comedian Smiley Kikuchi, writing "I will kill you" in December, a police source said.

Kikuchi and his agent, Ohta Production Inc., initially declined
comment out of fear of drawing further attacks on the Web. But
Kikuchi released a comment later in the day saying the information in circulation contains factual errors.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・NPA 警察庁(National Police Agency)
・probe 探る、調査する
・slander 中傷、名誉棄損
・abusive 口汚い、濫用の
・factual 事実に関する、事実に基づく

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | 日本−社会



Suspect's e-mail
( Japan Times )

Before Takeshi Koizumi turned himself in to police over the slayings of a former vice health minister and his wife, he sent an e-mail to Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. denying media reports that his acts were triggered by the pension fiasco, the broadcaster said Sunday.

According to TBS, the e-mail was sent at 7:09 p.m. Saturday, a few hours before Koizumi, 46, turned himself in at a police station at around 9:20 p.m.

"This is not a pension terrorism attack!" the e-mail started off.

"It is revenge for having 'my family' killed by a health care center 34 years ago. They are still killing more then 500,000 innocent pets every year," it said. "They'll get payback for the meaningless killings."

【 まずは準備運動 】

・suspect 容疑者
・vice 副、代理、次
・pension 年金、恩給
・start off 出発する、動きだす
・innocent 罪のない、潔白な
・payback 見返り、払い戻し、返報

● 解説ザブ〜ン!
posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 日本−社会