It is reported in the Mainichi.jp article linked above that travel between Tokyo and Osaka would take a little more than an hour by the proposed maglev Shinkansen, according to JR Tokai. However, the construction cost is estimated to be more than 8 trillion yen, which looks impossibly high, given the budget condition in Japan.
As is reported in today's Mainichi.jp article (linked above), Land Minister Seiji Maehara has announced that Haneda, rather than Narita, should be an international hub airport in Japan. While Japan needs to develop a hub airport from the international viewpoint, the emphasis on Haneda could aggravate the concentration of economic activities in Tokyo and that would be undesirable from the domestic viewpoint.
By now it is widely reporte in and outside of Japan as in the attached CBC article linked above that Hiroshima and Nagasaki have announced that they will launch a bid for the 2020 Olympic Games. While such a move could attract worldwide attention due to the current boom for the idea of a "nuclear-free world," articulated US President Obama, who has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, it remains to be seen if those two Japanese cities are going to make the same mistake as Tokyo made in bidding for the 2016 Olympic Games by underestimating the strength of emerging nations such as Brazil in this kind of global competition.
Some concerns are being expressed about the declining value of the US dollar, as more and more foreign countries and investors are shy away from holding the dollar. However, as pointed out by the LA Times article linked above, there is a positive side of this development, that is that a cheaper dollar will help the US export more and import less so that the US trade deficit may well narrow, leading to a reduction in the "global imbalance." In fact, that was exactly what happened in August.
It is reported in the Mainichi.jp article linked above that PM Hatoyama emphasized the importance of science and technology to keep his promise of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent However, it should be clear that technology alone could not possibly meet such a severe requirement. What is needed is economic and social reorganization of Japan itself, where various incentives including higher highway tolls should be adopted, contrary to some of the policies that the Hatoyama administration has announced.
As is reported in today's Mainichi.jp article (see the link above), the Hatoyama administration seems to have trimmed its spending by about 2.5 trillion yen in order to eliminate "wasteful" projects. While it is understandable from the political viewpoint that the DPJ is now showing off its effort to reduce waste by exercising the political leadership, there are some concerns that such spending cuts might well aggravate the current recessionary pressure on the Japanese economy. Both microecnomic (efficiency) and macroeconomic (stimulative) approaches are needed to deal with the current political and economic problem facing Japan these days.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos visited Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park on Sunday. We will wait and see if and how the former business lawyer in Silicon Valley can help Japan-U.S. relations, especially regarding peace-making activities.
下にリンクされている「Mainichi.jp」の記事にあるように、2016年のオリンピック開催地の競争で、東京がブラジルのリオ・デ・ジャネイロに敗れたことは色々なメディアで報道されている。 ある意味で、リオになるのは既定の事実で、それはこれまで南米でオリンピックが開催されたことがなく、その時が来たという意見が大勢だったからである。 したがって、そのような開催候補地をめぐる客観的な評価を無視して、ただ誘致運動をやみくもに推進してきた石原都知事の責任は重大と言わざるを得ない。 参考：Reference: Mainichi.jp (10/4): "Supporters stunned after Tokyo loses bid to host 2016 Olympic Games" http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20091003p2a00m0na012000c.html
It is widely reported now, as in the Mainichi.jp article linked above, that Tokyo lost its bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be the place for the Summer Games. In a sense this has been a foregone conclusion, since the Olympic Games have never been held in Latin America and this is about time to do so. Tokyo Governor Ishihara is fully resposible for this wasteful loss, as he is the one who has been pushing this move without regard for the objective assessment of the surrounding situation for the choice among candidate cities including Rio de Janeiro.
JAL seems to be getting valuable support from the government, according to today's Reuters report (see the link above). Still many specialists are saying that JAL should go bankrupt before it is revived, just like GM in the US.
本日付の「Daily Yomiuri」の記事（下のリンク参照）で報道されているように、インターネットの主なドメイン名として、日本語で「.日本」が来年にも利用できるようになるとのこと。 さらに、「京都」や「富士山」も利用可能かもしれない。 問題は、日本語のドメイン名は、海外では読めないし理解も難しいということであろう。 参考：Reference: Daily Yomiuri (9/29): "Top-level domains to make Japanese script debut" http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20090929TDY02303.htm
As is reported in today's Daily Yomiuri article (see the link above), Japanese language top-level domains for the Internet such as ".nihon" (in Japanese), will become available as early as next year. Also "Kyoto" and "Mt. Fuji" may be registered as top-level domains. A possible problem is that the meaning of "nihon" might not be understood and thus not easily be remembered.
「ジャパン・パッシング」の現象が、米国だけでなくアジアでも見られるようになってきており、来月の東京モーターショーに韓国第一の現代自動車が参加しないという報道が、下にリンクされている「Mainichi.jp」の記事でなされている。 もし日本が移民政策のような抜本的な国際化策をとらなければ、このような現象はもっと広がっている恐れがあろう。 参考：Reference: Mainichi.jp (9/26): "Hyundai to skip Tokyo Motor Show as part of cost-cutting moves" http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20090926p2a00m0na018000c.html
The phenomenon of "Japan passing" is now being observed not only in the US, but also in Asia, as Korea's leading automaker Hyondai, in addition to the US Big Three, is not going to participate in the Tokyo Motor Show next month, according to the Mainichi.jp article linked above. This kind of phenomenon will become more widespread, unless something fundamental such as radical globalization measures including migration policies are adopted in Japan.
No more expensive building to be constructed by the Hatoyama administration, which just announced the cancellation of the planned national arts center, known as the "amine hall of fame," according to the Mainichi.jp article linked above. It is obvious that a "soft," not "hard," approach is necessary to promote Japan's "soft power," best represented by anime, manga, and other kinds of soft content.
It is reported in today's LA Times article (see the link above) that the US is no longer attractive to immigrants, and actually USA's foreign-born population did not increase at all last year. The economic crisis in the US seems to be the main reason for this development, and such high-unemployment states as California are losing foreign-born residents. This trend may continue for some time to come, due to the prolonged recession in the US.
以下にリンクされている「LA Times」の記事によると、米国では自宅とその住宅ローンを戦略的（意図的）に放棄する人がこのところ大幅に増えているとのこと。 この戦略的なローン支払い不履行のケースは、カリフォルニア州やフロリダ州に集中してみられ、これらの州では、住宅価格の下落が激しいために多額の含み損を抱えた住宅が多いことが特徴的である。 ある意味でこのような戦略的行動が理解できるのは、住宅価格が元に戻ってくるにはかなりの年数を要すると考えれるので、自宅と住宅ローンを放棄することの損失のほうが、家を持ったままで巨額の含み損を抱えることの損失よりもはるかに小さいからである。 しかし、このような行動は、住宅市場と住宅ローン市場の状況をさらに悪化させて、米国の住宅不況の悪循環を引き起こすだけといえるであろう。 参考：Reference: LA Times (9/20): "Homeowners who 'strategically default' on loans a growing problem" http://www.latimes.com/classified/realestate/news/la-fi-harney20-2009sep20,0,2560658.story
According to the LA Times article linked above, there are more and more people who are strategically (intentionally) defalting on their mortgages and walking away from their homes in the U.S. Those strategic defaults are heavily concentrated in California and Florida, where homeowners are suffering from negative equity due to the drastic falls in housing prices. In a sense, it is understandable why many homeonwers prefer to abandon their homes with mortgages, rather than keeping their houses with huge negative equity, since the former loss is much less than the latter loss, as they don't seem to expect home prices to come back anytime soon. However, this kind of strategic behavior will only aggravate the situtaion in the housing and mortgage markets, resulting in the vicious circle of housing depression in the U.S.
下にリンクされている「」の記事によると、映画館で映画を盗撮することを防ぐために、スクリーンの背後に配備する光のシステムの技術開発がなされたとのことである。 盗撮のような問題に対して技術に重点を置くのは、極めて日本的なアプローチといえる。 しかし、技術は時間とともに有効でなくなるので、この問題の本質的な解決のためには、社会的および法律的なアプローチが必要であろう。 参考：Reference: Mainichi.jp (9/19): "Movie theaters to use infra-red to foil pirates" http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20090919p2a00m0na024000c.html
It is reported in the Mainichi.jp article linked above that a new technique has been developed to prevent pirates from filming movies illegally by utilizing some kind of lighting system behind the cinema screen. The emphasis on technologies may be regarded as a uniquely Japanese approach to the piracy problem. Since technologies can become obsolete with time, social and legal approaches are needed to solve the piracy problem in a more fundamental fashion.
As reported in today's Mainichi.jp (see the link above), the Japan Business Federation, Keidanren, will not be able to have a close relationship and a strong influence that it used to have, after the DPJ takes over of the government. This is an inevitable consequence of Keidanren's close (too close) relationship with the LDP in the past.
It is reported in the Mainichi.jp article linked above that as a symbol of new DPJ's political leadership, the administrative vice minister's meeting is abolished today. What is amazing is not so much that such a meeting is abolished as that it has lasted for 123 years (since the modern state of Japan was established in Meiji period).
Everyone has been suffering from the current financial crisis, and universities are no exception. According to the Mainichi.jp article linked above, a university in Yokosuka lost over 5 billion yen(!) due to a failure in managing their funds in the financial market. There seem to be too many cases of this kind with Japanese universities. One of the reasons may be because they don't hire professional fund managers to invest their funds, unlike their American counterparts.
どんな良いことでも悪い面を伴うというのが、下にリンクされた「Mainichi.jp」の記事の内容である。 それによれば、和歌山鉄道の古い駅、貴志駅は、猫駅長「たま」の人気により、閉鎖を免れたという。 たまの人気で駅の乗客数は大幅に増加したが、その人気があまりに沸騰して、多くの観光客が駅に押し寄せるため、駅周辺の不法駐車が急増して、近隣に多大な迷惑となっている。 悪いことは避けて良いことだけを求めることはできないのである。 参考：Reference Mainichi.jp (9/6): "Traffic clogging Kishi Station causing headaches for Tama the Stationmaster Cat" http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20090905p2a00m0na009000c.html
Any good thing has a negative aspect, as reported in the Mainichi.jp article linked above. An old railway station, Kishi Station in Wakayama, Japan, was saved from shutting down by the popularity of Tama, Stationmaster Cat! Thanks to Tama, passenger figures at the station have increased substantially. However, Tama has become so pupular that tourists are flocking to the station to see the cat and illegally parking their cars around the station, causing a lot of nuisance in the neighborhood. You cannot only have a good thing, while avoiding a bad thing that comes with it.
As reported in the Mainichi.jp article linked above, the Consumer Affairs Agency, just lauched by the LDP which was defeated in the general election, seems to have a problem in appointing a former bureaucrat as the head of the agency. Clearly, this is against the political philosophy of the DPJ which should have had a say in this appointment after its landslide victory in the election.