This book is a collection of the articles that Yoshiko Sakurai recently published in various magazines. Her interests are wide-ranging, from such domestic issues as the bureaucratic reform and the education reform to such international problems as the history issues and the North Korea problem. Her stance is clearly expressed in the introductory part, where she maintains that the US is gradually losing its power, whereas China is rapidly increasing its presence and influence in Asia. In particular, she emphasizes that China has adopted “shrewd tactics” to isolate Japan morally by publicizing the history issues and to weaken the Japan-US relationship by organizing anti-Japanese movements within the US, where the recent Senate resolution on the “comfort women" problem is a result of such movements. She also points out that the US may appear to be leaning toward China, rather than Japan, possibly due to the lack of knowledge about China’s intension on the part of US officials. Therefore, she concludes that Japan should be strong and have courage to speak out and insist on its principle and values for the purpose of overcoming adversity and leading the world in the 21st century. Having read this book, I had an impression that Yoshiko Sakurai mmay be a hard-core anti-communist opinion leader, rather than a pure Japanese nationalist, as indicated by her background, that is that she was born in Vietnam, educated in Hawaii and worked as a journalist at the Tokyo bureau of Chiristian Science Monitor, before becoming a TV newscaster in Tokyo.
この本で小林教授が強調しているのは、国際化はそれ自体が目的ではなく、経営目標を達成する一手段にすぎないということである。 そこでは、日本を代表する66社について国際化の程度と経営パフォーマンスの水準との関係が検討されており、注意深く準備がなされないならば国際化は必ずしも経営パフォーマンスの改善を意味しないという結論が導かれている。 したがって、重要なのは経営者が刻々変化するビジネス状況にフレキシブルに対応する一方で、国際化の過程で経営パフォーマンスを改善するために十分な準備と努力をする必要があるということである。 明らかにこの本は、日本の企業データに基づいた国際経営分野における「金字塔的」な研究であるといえよう（英文の要旨は以下を参照）。 参考：Reference Noritake KOBAYASHI "Internationalization and Business Performance of Japanese Corporations": GLOCOM Platform (5/14): http://www.glocom.org/opinions/essays/20070514_kobayashi_international/
In this book, Prof. Kobayashi emphasizes that internationalization is not an end by itself, but a means to achieve managerial objectives. He examines possible relations between the degree of internationalization and the level of business performance for Japan's 66 representative corporations, and concludes that internationalization does not necessarily mean a better business performance, unless careful preparations are taken. Therefore, it seems essential for management to be flexible in responding to ever changing business conditions, while making enough preparations and efforts to improve business performance in the process of internationalization, according to Prof. Kobayashi. This book is clearly a "monumental" work in international management based on Japanese business data (see the link above for its English summary).
This is Waseda University Professor Toshimitsu Shigemura's newest book with his clear message that North Korea's regime change is necessary now and should be taken care of by the U.S., China and South Korea. Otherwise, North Korea would soon have nuclear missiles, that might well trigger a new trend of nuclear proliferation in Asia. He also points out that Kim Jong-il launched a kind of military coup to overtake political power from the Communist party in the 1990s, leading to the development and tests of a nuclear bomb in recent years. In conclusion, however, he emphasizes that while Japan must continue to insist on the solution of the nuclear issue as well as the abductee problem with current sanctions intact, Japan should not directly get involved in any conflict whatsoever in the Korean Peninsula, and the best Japan could do is observe and analyze the situation in the Peninsula as objectively as possible -- a very realistic but frustrating policy recommendation.
「インテリジェンス：武器なき戦争」（幻冬舎新書）2006年 ☆☆☆☆（80点） 昨日友人から贈られた本で、現在ノンフィクション部門のベストセラー1位。内容は、インテリジェンス（諜報）活動に非常に詳しいジャーナリストと外交官の対談で、興味深いやりとりが含まれている。 本日の日経夕刊（p. 7）にも書評が載っており、そこではインテリジェンスに関わる「人間の資質」を強調している手嶋龍一の発言が引用されている。実際にその点こそがこの本の最も重要なメッセージで、その理由は、彼らがいうように「日本版NSC」や「安倍晋三版CIA」といった組織や器をつくったとしても、その分野でよい人材がいなければ何の役割りも果さないからである。また佐藤優は、正規のインテリジェンス・スクールをつくり、手嶋のような人物を学長にして、有能なインテリジェンス・オフィサーを教育し、情報を適切に共有する「インテリジェンス・コミュニティ」を育成することを提案している。 ちょうど今、米国で公開中の映画「The Good Shepherd」は、CIAの創設期を扱っており、インテリジェンス組織を有効に機能させるために必要な人材についてよい参考例を見ることができる。 参考：References 「インテリジェンス：武器なき戦争」 http://bookweb.kinokuniya.co.jp/htm/4344980115.html 「映画『The Good Shepherd』の批評」 http://glocom.seesaa.net/archives/20061231.html
Ryuichi Teshima & Masaru Sato "Intelligence: War Without Weapons" (Gentosha: 2006) ☆☆☆☆（80 points/100) This book was given to me by a friend of mine yesterday, and is currently the number-one bestseller book in the non-fiction category. The content is an interesting dialogue between a journalist and a diplomat, both of whom know various aspects of intelligence activities in great detail. It is taken up for review in the evening edition of today's Nikkei Shimbun (p. 7), where Teshima's emphasis on human quality in intelligence is quoted. In fact, that seems to be the most important message in this book, because, as they say, creating organizations or "containers" such as a Japanese version of NSC or an Abe version of CIA would not be effective without quality personnel in this field. Sato proposes establishment of a formal intelligence school, headed by a person like Teshima, to educate capable intelligence officers and to foster the "intelligence community," where key information can properly be shared. It happens that the movie "The Good Shepherd," currently showing in the U.S., may be presenting a good example of the kind of people we need to run an effective intelligence organization such as the CIA.
This is an excellent book, which presents not only various facts on retiring babyboomers and related phenomena, but also their backgrounds, reasons, implications and future prospects in the context of aging population in Japan. It is interesting to find out why an overwhelming majority of babyboomers wish to work even after their retirement age. According to the authors (p. 51), the main reason is, of course, economic in that they need to supplement their income for daily living, but at the same time, an almost equally important reason is that they would like to keep their social contacts and networks for satisfaction in their lives. The authors seem to suggest that retiring babyboomers should become important members of the society in terms of volunteer work and local community activities. Anyone would agree with them in this respect.
Toshiaki Tachibanaki "Social Disparity" (2006, Iwanami) Prof. Tachibanaki (Kyoto University) maintains that in Japan economic disparity has gradually been widening for the last several years and the degree of income inequality is now higher than most of the Western countries and only next to the U.S. and Britain among major countries. His data and factual analysis on widening disparity seem very comprehensive and quite convincing. In particular, he clearly refutes the often-heard argument that Japan's economic disparity might be only in appearance, due to the aging phenomenon, and not in substance. On the other hand, his conclusions, especially critical of "American-style society with small government," are based on his own value judgment and can be disputed by anyone. At any rate, this book is highly recommendable, along with his recent publication in English (see below). Toshiaki Tachibanaki "Confronting Income Inequality in Japan" (2005, MIT Press) https://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/?ttype=2&tid=10719
Shinzo Abe "Toward a Beautiful Nation" (2006) This bestseller book is not intended to spell out PM Abe's policy agenda, but rather expressing his feelings and state of mind as a political leader who is trying to make Japan a "beautiful nation" with self-confidence and pride, as he explicitly states in the postscript of this book. At the same time, he emphasizes his "fighting spirit" to achieve his political goals in the introduction, however, without clearly specifying what he is fighting for or whom he is fighting against (except North Korea regarding the abduction issue) in this book. For example, the issue of widening economic disparity is almost entirely dismissed, and educational reform is briefly mentioned as a means to mitigate possible disparity, but only a school voucher system is proposed to achieve such reform. Overall, this is a disappointing piece with such light-weight content just as the weight of a typical paperback book. Hopefully, his administration is not going to be as light as that.
安田敬・監修「ケベック発パフォーミングアーツの未来形」 Kei Yasuda ed. "Future of Performing Arts from Quebec" ☆☆☆☆（80点） これはケベックのパフォーミングアートに関して4人の日本の執筆者が書いた本で、ダンス、演劇、マルチディシプリナリーアーツ、映画、音楽、サーカスといった分野とともにそれらの芸術を支える環境についてもカバーしている。 私が特に興味を持ったのは2002年にモントリオール国際ジャズフェスティバルでオスカー・ピーターソン賞を受賞した女性ピアニスト・ロレーヌ・デマレのインタビューで、それは戦後オスカー・ピーターソンによって発見されバークレー音楽院に留学して一流ジャズミュージシャンになった秋吉敏子を思い起こさせる。 この本は、日本とケベックが芸術分野でいかに深く広い関係を持ってきたか、また今後とも持っていくかをよく示している。高く評価し、ぜひ推薦したい本である。 参考： この本について： http://books.yahoo.co.jp/book_detail/31164020 本の目次： http://www.sangensha.co.jp/allbooks/index/119.htm
Excellent book written in Japanese by 4 Japanese writers on the future of performing arts from Quebec, covering dance, play, multidisciplinary arts, film, music and circus as well as the background environment for such arts in Quebec. I was particularly interested in the interview with Ms. Lorraine Desmarais, Jazz pianist awarded the Oscar Peterson prize at the 2002 International Jazz Festival in Montreal. This interview reminded me of Ms. Toshiko Akiyoshi, Japanese pianist, who was discovered and helped by Oscar Peterson in attending Berklee Music School and becoming a first-rate Jazz musician in the postwar period. This book shows how deep and how widespread the relationship between Japan and Quebec has been, is, and will be in the cultural field in general and in performing arts in particular. It is really refreshing and eye-opening to read this kind of book, and I recommend it very highly.
A couple days ago I received season's greetings from Prof. Dore by mail, along with a summary of his new book, which I had heard about directly from him from time to time. Now that I bought and read it earlier today, I am convinced that this is one of the most important books ever published about corporate governance in Japanese business. In fact, there are some indications that more and more business leaders are accepting Prof. Dore's position and rejecting the widespread view that favors stockholders over other stakeholders. His persistence in maintaining and developing the dissenting view deserves high praise and deep respect.
The following is from the introductory part of the book: "In explanation of the title (literally 'for whose benefit should [the law] prescribe the corporation to be'), the preface explains that it was chosen to emphasize the fact that, contrary to most discussions of corporate governance, there is no model of an essential or proper form of capitalism which the law should embody. Company law in any country is the product of clashing domestic interests and values, within the framework of that country’s modal political values and cultural predispositions."
Al Gore "An Inconvenient Truth" (Paperback), Rodale, 2006 ☆☆☆☆(Highly recommendable) The former Vice President's bestseller paperback book on the environmental issue, especially on global warming. The book is easy to read and very convincing with a lot of photos, graphs and charts, almost like seeing the movie version of the book. It is printed on recycled paper. About the book: http://www.buzzflash.com/store/reviews/228 About the movie: http://www.climatecrisis.net/