There was a good deal of popular outrage when news of this dinner came to light, but not one of the newspapers whose editors dined with Mr. Abe that evening has yet offered an explanation for why it happened.

good deal:多量


And this is just the tip of the iceberg. My own survey of publicly available information about the prime minister’s movements reveals that in the 17 months since he has come to power, he has broken bread with prominent media figures on no fewer than 36 occasions. The list includes the presidents and chief editorial writers of numerous news agencies and national and local newspapers. Every one of these meals took place not in the prime minister’s official residence, but in the more intimate, convivial atmosphere of private restaurants.

break bread:食事をする


Continue reading the main story
During the six months after the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, Prime Minister Naoto Kan never dined with media personalities. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda had just six such meals while he was in power, from September 2011 through December 2012 — an average of once every two months, compared with twice a month for Mr. Abe.


Mr. Abe has made a priority of cultivating relations with the media. He has increased his cabinet’s media budget for this fiscal year by almost one-third over the previous year, to a total of roughly $64 million. And he is becoming increasingly blatant in his approach. Before the Yasukuni Shrine dinner, there was one on Dec. 16, not long after the enactment of the Special Secrets Protection Bill, a controversial law that could be used to jail journalists who publish, or just try to obtain, information that the government considers to be sensitive. Since then, he seems to have taken to holding meals with the media after all important political events.

take to:〜を好きになる/手段を取る


The prime minister dined with former political editors on April 2, the day after Japan’s sales tax was raised from 5 percent to 8 percent. (It is a controversial move: An earlier such hike brought down the previous administration, led by the Democratic Party of Japan, paving the way for the return of Mr. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party.) On May 15, the very night the prime minister announced that his administration was considering reinterpreting Japan’s pacifist Constitution to allow it to exercise its “right of collective self-defense,” the prime minister went out for sushi with many of the same editors he had dined with after the Special Secrets Protection Bill became law.

pave the way:道を作る/下地を作る


Even worse than Mr. Abe’s efforts to ingratiate himself with the media is the media’s willingness to play along. Ever since the Meiji period, when Japan began struggling to transform itself into a modern nation-state, the media has been dominated by organizations known as “press clubs.” There are about 800 of these clubs in the country now, at levels ranging from the local to the national. Members gain privileged access to politicians and information, as well as the use of office space rent-free; freelancers are limited. As a result, many journalists naturally drift closer to authority over time. And the more established they are, the more incentive they have to act like “citizens the prime minister will respect.”



Mr. Abe has outdone previous prime ministers in exploiting this tendency. How much further can he go before Japan has no more newspapers its citizens will respect?



Norihiro Kato is a literary scholar and a professor at Waseda University. This article was translated by Michael Emmerich from the Japanese.

加藤典洋は文芸評論家で早稲田大学の教授である。この記事はMichael Emmerichによって日本語から翻訳された。


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太平洋での海洋保護 太平洋の小国は漁獲禁止を検討している (2) 安倍と言論界

Enforcement is another obstacle. Palau has only one boat capable of patrolling its EEZ. Many tuna bandits escape detection. Technology could help: last year the country tested surveillance drones. The problem is money. Japan and America have helped fund enforcement. Both have an interest because of their fishing deals with Palau. But they may not want to fund a system that locks them out of its waters altogether. 




Abe and the Fourth Estate 
JUNE 12, 2014 
Norihiro Kato 

fourth estate:言論界 


TOKYO — Last December, around the time Prime Minister Shinzo Abe thrust his Special Secrets Protection Bill on Japan despite popular opposition, a bizarre advertisement for the daily Asahi Shimbun appeared in subway stations across Tokyo. The poster showed a well-known former boxer, now in his 60s, poring over a newspaper spread on his desk. The text read: “I want to be a citizen the prime minister will respect.” 

pore over:じっくりと見る 


The ad caught the public’s eye, but it garnered overwhelmingly negative reactions, ranging from befuddlement to anger. As one freelance journalist argued, the newspaper’s self-portrayal was at odds with the so-called Canon of Journalism adopted by the Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association in 2000. Those guidelines state, among other things, that “the public’s right to know” in a democracy “cannot be ensured without the existence of media, operating with the guarantee of freedom of speech and expression, while being totally committed to a high moral standard and fully independent.” The Asahi Shimbun has yet to respond satisfactorily to this criticism. 

at odds with:〜と意見が食い違って/争って 


The implications of this peculiar ad are troubling. And they seem to be borne out by several incidents that have taken place in its wake, which raise serious doubts about just how “fully independent” Japanese papers really are. 



One galling example occurred on Dec. 26, 2013, when Mr. Abe became the first sitting Japanese head of state in seven years to visit the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, the controversial memorial said to house the spirits of Japan’s war dead, including those of convicted war criminals. That very evening, Mr. Abe had dinner with the political editors and writers of Japan’s most prominent newspapers, including Asahi, Yomiuri and Mainichi. The next day, only one of the prime minister’s dinner companions wrote about his visit to the shrine. 



The sole exception, Mainichi’s political editor, criticized the visit for harming the national interest by predictably causing an international stir. But he also noted “the significance of the prime minister’s motivation, which was to express his veneration for the spirits of the heroes who sacrificed their lives for Japan.” The piece was noticeably gentler on Mr. Abe than the paper’s editorial of the same day, suggesting that the author’s personal interactions with Mr. Abe may have swayed his views in the prime minister’s favor. 




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太平洋での海洋保護 太平洋の小国は漁獲禁止を検討している


Marine protection in the Pacific 
No bul 
A tiny Pacific nation considers a ban on fishing 
Jun 7th 2014 | PALAU | From the print edition 



IN PALAU, the traditional prescription for an ailing reef is a fishing ban called a bul. Local chiefs may declare a bul to rest a busy fishing spot or protect endangered sea turtles. Now Palau’s president has a more drastic plan. He proposes a complete ban on commercial fishing—a bul to turn the 600,000 square kilometres (232,00 square miles) of Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) into a marine reserve the size of Ukraine. Locals could still fish close to shore, but not for export. 



The ban would last until world leaders implement programmes “to reverse the devastation to our oceans and seas”, Palau’s president, Tommy Remengesau, recently told the United Nations. Environmentalists have rallied to his cause. Such reserves are usually declared by countries with fishing grounds and cash to spare. Palau has a population of 20,000 and a GDP of $246m. 

その禁止は世界のリーダー達が“我々の海洋”への破壊を食い止めるプログラムを実行するまで続く、とパラオ大統領のTommy Remengesauは先日、国連へ話をした。環境保護主義者達は彼の理念の下に集結している。そうした保存は通常、漁場を持つ国や資金に余裕のある国が主張する。パラオは人口2万人、GDPは2億4,600万ドルである。 

A total ban might hurt Palau, which is part of Micronesia, 800km (500 miles) east of the Philippines. Though small, its waters are full of bigeye and yellowfin tuna. Japanese and Taiwanese boats pay to fish there, helping Palau earn $5m in revenue from fishing taxes and licensing fees in 2013. That is a lot for a microstate with an annual government budget of only $70m. And fishing revenues have been growing thanks to a regional negotiating block. Together, eight remote Pacific states control 14m square km of tuna-rich waters. They have forced Asian and American ships into a cap-and-trade scheme that boosts access fees by limiting total fishing days. 



In an age of collapsing fish stocks, the relative health of fisheries in the western Pacific has given island states a rare measure of economic influence. Palau’s bet, however, is that its fish are worth more in the water than out. Mr Remengesau doubts that small islands will ever capture more than “a drop” of a tuna fishery worth billions but dominated by foreign fleets. Ecotourism, meanwhile, accounts for about half of Palau’s GDP. 



Palau’s leaders hope that a national marine reserve will lure enough tourists to offset lost fishing revenue. Failing that, the president says, Palau could simply raise tourist fees, or build a casino. Tourism is a fickle industry, though: arrivals to Palau in 2013 dropped 12% from the year before as Asian demand weakened. 



Palau has, over the years, been ruled by Germany, Japan and America. Now it is an independent democracy, “in free association” with America, which is responsible for its defence. The democratic system means a bul now requires more than a chief’s word. Mr Remengesau has yet to submit his ban to the legislature. He must first woo representatives of Palau’s 16 states, spread across 250 islands, many of which depend on fishing revenues. 




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日本の高級車 インフィニティの限界 日本の高級自動車ブランドは未だドイツのライバル達に大きな後れを取っている。(2)

Lexus’s initial success in America spurred the Germans to fight back hard, spending heavily on designing vehicles whose technical brilliance opened motorists’ wallets, and on broadening their ranges to fill every possible niche. As the German brands successfully exploited rising demand for smaller premium cars, the Japanese were unable to keep up. Lexus and Infiniti make just a handful of models and Acura fewer still. BMW, Audi and Mercedes have dozens, and are launching new ones with bewildering rapidity. Mercedes is bringing out roughly one new model each quarter until 2020. 



Instead of drawing the lesson that they need to give higher priority to building their premium brands, the Japanese car giants have generally treated them as afterthoughts, their bosses devoting more attention to the mass-market models they are most comfortable making and selling. At one point Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s boss, considered scrapping Infiniti altogether. 



The lack of focus on premium marques has left the Japanese carmakers struggling in China, soon to be the biggest market for luxury cars. The German upmarket brands have done a wonderful job of persuading China’s new rich that riding around in one of their models is the best way to say: “I have arrived.” BMW now makes 30% of its profits in China. 


Given the political tensions between the two countries, the Japanese marques start off with a handicap. Moreover, as Toyota’s boss, Akio Toyoda, recently conceded for his own Lexus models, Japanese premium cars have “no heritage, no narrative”—and it turns out that well-off Chinese motorists care about this as much as Europeans do. JLR’s brands have heaps of heritage, especially Range Rover and its association with British royalty. Last year JLR overtook Lexus as the fourth-largest prestige car brand in China. 



Unlike their European rivals, the three Japanese car giants have done little to tailor their premium model range to Chinese tastes. And, although Infiniti and Acura plan to do so, none currently assembles its cars in China. So they incur import tariffs of 25% that German firms, with their thriving joint ventures with Chinese makers, do not have to pay. And as Lin Huaibin at IHS Automotive, a research firm, points out, Audi has 350 dealerships in mainland China, whereas Lexus has only 120. 


ヨーロッパのライバル達とは違い、日本の3大自動車メーカーは高級モデルクラスを中国テイストに調整することはほとんどしていない。また、インフィニティとアキュラはそうしようと計画しているが、どちらも現在のところ中国で組み立てをしていない。そのため、彼らは、中国メーカーとの盛況なジョイントベンチャーのためにドイツ企業が払う必要のない25%の輸入関税を負担している。また、調査会社HIS AutomotiveのLin Huabinが指摘しているように、アウディは中国本土で350の販売特約店を持っており、一方、レクサスはわずか120である。 

More passion, more freedom 
Head offices are belatedly getting into gear. Mr Toyoda is taking personal responsibility for Lexus, acknowledging that, like Infiniti, its cars need more “passion” in their styling. Nissan is giving Infiniti more independence, in the same way as VW gives Audi a free hand. (Not coincidentally, it provides almost half of VW’s profits.) Infiniti’s head office has been moved from Japan to Hong Kong and a former Audi man has been brought in as boss to polish up the brand. Infiniti has just opened design studios in London, San Diego and Beijing. 


These efforts may help the Japanese premium marques, in time. But they come as the market is getting more crowded. Kia and Hyundai of South Korea are bringing out attractively priced upmarket models. Alfa Romeo and Maserati of Italy are making a comeback. And mass-market car firms, from Ford to Peugeot, are trying to “premiumise” parts of their range to boost profits. To compete properly all three Japanese brands need years of heavy investment and attention from above. Lexus has the critical mass of sales, and the promising new models, to keep it in the race. The future for Acura and Infiniti seems far less assured. In this business the Germans always seem to be moving a little bit faster. 

in time:やがて 



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日本の高級車 インフィニティの限界 日本の高級自動車ブランドは未だドイツのライバル達に大きな後れを取っている。


Japanese luxury cars 
The limits to Infiniti 
Japan’s premium motor brands are still far behind their German rivals. The giant carmakers that own them are missing out on pots of potential profit 
Jun 7th 2014 | From the print edition 


A MONTH before launching Lexus in America in 1989, Toyota considered running a television advertisement showing German aristocrats at a wild party in a hilltop castle. The voice-over intoned that the Teutons had dominated upmarket, high-performance cars for nearly 60 years but they had only “30 days left to enjoy it”. 

the Teutons:ドイツ人 ゲルマン民族の一派; 今はドイツ・オランダ・スカンジナビアなど北欧民族


The ad never made it to the TV screens, which is just as well: three German brands, Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen’s Audi, have become ever more dominant as emerging-markets growth has expanded global demand for premium cars. Lexus, Acura and Infiniti, the upmarket brands dreamed up in the 1980s by Japan’s big three carmakers, Toyota, Honda and Nissan, have been left trailing (see chart). Together the German trio now have 70% of the market for fast, expensive and luxurious cars, whereas the Japanese have just 10%. And they are being overtaken by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), a British (but Indian-owned) firm, which last year sold almost half a million cars, just behind Lexus. 

just as well:かえって幸いな 


The Japanese three are making renewed efforts to close the gap on the Germans. Last month Infiniti said it was redesigning its cars, starting with the new Q50 (pictured), to give them a more “passionate” Latin feel, distinguishing them from the “cold and clinical” German models. Lexus is about to launch a baby SUV, the NX, to rival JLR’s successful Range Rover Evoque and similar cars from Audi and BMW. Acura is pinning its hopes on the new RLX, a sleek, stretchy saloon. 


日本の3社はドイツ勢との差を縮めるために新たな取り組みを行っている。先月、インフィニティは“情熱的な”ラテン的印象とするために、新型のQ50(写真)で始まる再デザインを行っているとし、 “冷たい印象で殺風景な”ドイツ車との違いを目立たせている。レクサスは、JLRの成功を収めているレンジローバーイヴォークやアウディ、BMWの同様の車種に対抗するための小型SUVのNXを発表するところである。アキュラは流線型で広々としたセダンの新型RLXに期待をかけている。 

For Toyota, Honda and Nissan, their premium divisions are, or at least should be, far more than just nice little sidelines. Profits in the fiercely competitive mass market can be vanishingly small, whereas those on upmarket models can be thousands of dollars per vehicle. So any improvement in the carmakers’ sales of premium models would have a disproportionate effect on their overall results. As Andy Palmer, a Nissan executive, puts it, premium models account for “12% of the volume and 50% of the profits” of the entire car industry. 

puts it:言う


At first the Japanese carmakers’ premium marques were aimed mainly at the American market, and got off to a good start. Their mass-market brands had given anything Japanese-made a reputation for reliability. The new, premium models were technically advanced compared with Lincolns and Cadillacs, Detroit’s upmarket offerings, and cheaper than their German rivals. By 2000 Lexus was the best-selling luxury-car brand in America, a position it held for more than a decade. 




However, tarting up mainstream models with a bit of wood and leather may have impressed American motorists, who care more about value than styling, but it did not impress image-conscious European buyers. Acura, perhaps sensing the futility of the task, avoided Europe altogether. Since their premium brands had failed to go global, the Japanese carmakers were reluctant to give them the resources to keep up with the competition. 

tart up:飾り立てる 


金曜日。今日はこれまで。昨日は友人のMark Fordが関与しているAVONに講演に行った。彼と会うのは久しぶりだったので、楽しかった。最近仕事が色々入ってきているので、超多忙だ。今日も昼食と午後は中国市場開拓関係の打ち合わせだ。最近の中国市場は凄くなってきているので、日本企業は色めき立っている。ただ、この市場は昔から難しい。ではまた明日。

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日本は中国と係争中の国々への支援を提供する (2)

Territorial Disputes in the Waters Near China
China has recently increased its pursuit of territorial claims in nearby seas, leading to tense exchanges with neighboring countries. A map of some of the most notable disputes.


“We are now able to send out Japan’s superb defense equipment,” he said, for purposes such as “rescue, transportation, vigilance, surveillance and minesweeping.” He said military equipment could be included in the aid that Japan would offer to Southeast Asian nations facing Chinese claims in the South China Sea.



In particular, Mr. Abe said Japan wanted to provide patrol ships to Vietnam, which is now in a tense standoff with China over the sudden appearance of a Chinese oil drilling platform near a chain of small islands that both nations claim. He noted that Japan had already decided to provide 10 similar ships to the Philippines, which is trying to turn back Chinese efforts to control a different group of disputed islands. And Japan would help train the coast guards of Vietnam, the Philippines and other Asian nations, he said.


“By doing so, the bonds between the people on the Japan side and the recipient side invariably become stronger,” Mr. Abe said.



South Korea and China, which are closer geographically to Japan, have criticized Mr. Abe’s policy as an attempt to revive Japanese militarism, but his moves have met with a warmer welcome in Southeast Asia. Analysts say that for nations there, China’s increasingly aggressive territorial claims have begun to outweigh memories of Japan’s wartime aggression.



Mr. Abe has made building closer security ties in the region a pillar of his foreign policy. In his speech on Friday, he noted that he had visited 10 Southeast Asian nations last year, and that he was trying to build “a new special relationship” with Australia that includes joint military training and joint development of military equipment.


木曜日。今日はこれまで。オーストラリアとの軍事協力を安倍さんが言っていながら、傍らで、防衛庁の高官がオーストラリアに潜水艦の技術を提供したら、漏れるから嫌だと言った。バカじゃあないの。この記事は昨年の今頃だが、全く古くないのはどうしてだろうか。昨日の昼はいつもの仲間と会食。夜は家族との会食。帰ってから小説を書いたが、早く寝た。今日の昼はMark Fordの依頼で、エイボンで講演する。午前も午後も小説が書ける。ではまた明日。

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