2009年 09月 09日 ( 5 )

Toyota said Tuesday it is hiring 800 short-term contract workers in its first such job increase in more than a year to keep up with brisk (元気の良い) Prius sales. Former workers will have preference (優先権).

Most will start working next month at Toyota Motor Corp.'s Tsutsumi plant in Aichi Prefecture, which makes the Prius hybrid and other models for the domestic market.

Toyota now employs 1,300 contract workers, down from a peak of 11,600 in June 2005, when auto sales were booming. They are hired for limited periods, unlike the company's 70,000 full-time workers, who are guaranteed "lifetime employment (終身雇用)."

Toyota reduced its contract workers amid the global slump in auto sales by not renewing their contracts or promoting them to full time. The automaker employs more than 300,000 workers worldwide.

The company has been struggling since global sales plunged last year. It stopped hiring contract workers in Japan in June last year.

Toyota racked up (損失を被る) its worst loss ever of ¥436.9 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31. It has projected an even worse business year through next March, although analysts are expecting that to be revised to a better forecast now that there are signs sales may be picking up.

Toyota has been reducing workers in other nations to cut costs.

Last month, it said it is shutting the California factory it ran with General Motors for 25 years — its first closure of a major auto plant.

The Fremont, Calif.-based New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or NUMMI, which employs about 4,600 workers, is set to be closed next March unless another company steps in to keep it going. Toyota said it will move production to its other plants in the U.S., Canada and Japan.

Toyota said the latest hiring will replace the overtime workers in Japan have had to do to keep up with demand. Recruitment will favor former employees, it said in a statement.

"The decision to hire the contract employees reflects gradually recovering global auto sales," company spokesman Paul Nolasco announced. "We want to be prepared."

The Prius was Japan's best-selling car for the fourth straight month in August. Government incentives and tax breaks helped boost the cars popularity.

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-09-09 12:49 | 英語関連


by yu-fen-sun | 2009-09-09 12:35 | 日常生活関連
27 prefectures lack data on preparations for H1N1 cases

Twenty-seven prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, do not know how many of their medical facilities can treat swine flu patients who develop severe symptoms.

The 27 prefectures had failed to report to the health ministry by the Friday deadline the number of their patients with the new A/H1N1 2009 strain or the medical facilities that can treat flu patients with acute (急性の) symptoms. As of Monday, deaths attributed to swine flu stood at 11 nationwide.

Only seven prefectures, including Akita, Tokushima and Okinawa, gave full reports, while others provided partial data or refrained from disclosure altogether.

The overall lax gathering of information by many local governments could lead to serious cases not going to the proper medical facilities.

Although the flu's symptoms are generally mild, young children, pregnant women, people receiving dialysis treatment (透析治療) and others with possible weak immune systems are considered at high risk.

Miyagi Prefecture reported that a 90-year-old man who had chronic (慢性的な) respiratory (呼吸器官の) disease died Sunday after breaking out in a high fever and testing positive for influenza A. Doctors are trying to determine whether he had the H1N1 virus.

The health ministry said Monday that Japan has stockpiled enough Tamiflu and Relenza antiflu drugs to treat 50 million people.

While a shortage of vaccine for the new H1N1 strain is anticipated, there is a big enough stockpile of drugs for conventional influenza that have also proved effective on the new flu, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

As of the end of August, the central and prefectural governments had a combined Tamiflu stockpile for 40.95 million people and enough Relenza for 4.92 million, the ministry said.

In addition, enough Tamiflu for 3.71 million people and Relenza for 900,000 were in stock at drug wholesalers and medical institutions as of Aug. 17.

Tamiflu is produced by F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. of Switzerland and Relenza is made by GlaxoSmithKline PLC of Britain.

Tamiflu, more widely available than Relenza, accounts for some 90 percent of the nation's stockpile.

But because a genetic mutation (遺伝子変異) of the new flu resistant to Tamiflu has been found, the ministry intends to raise the ratio of Relenza in the process of increasing the overall stockpile, officials said.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has stockpiled enough Tamiflu and Relenza each for 2 million people.

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-09-09 12:08 | 英語関連
新裁判員制度(new lay judge system)についてです。
先ず、lay judgeという単語を覚えてしまいましょう。

Lay judges hear first case against foreigner

The first lay judge trial with a non-Japanese defendant (被告人) started Tuesday with a 20-year-old Filipino pleading guilty to (~の罪状を認める) attacking two men on separate occasions in December, when he was a minor (未成年), and taking their money and other belongings.

Two men and four women were chosen by lottery from the 45 people who reported at the Saitama District Court for lay judge duty, after they went through an orientation that involved a questionnaire to check their impartiality (公平性).

Two other men were chosen as alternates. The court summoned (呼び集める、召集する) 47 people for the case.

On the first day of what was expected to be a four-day trial through Friday, the defendant, a resident of Toda, Saitama Prefecture, who works part time at a restaurant, admitted committing robbery resulting in bodily injury.

"Yes, they are correct. I am very sorry," the man said in Japanese of the charges read against him. He then bowed to the bench.

Based on the juvenile law (少年法), The Japan Times is withholding (差し控える) the name of the defendant because he was a minor when the alleged crimes were committed and when he was arrested.

The presiding judge (裁判長) said that although the defendant speaks some Japanese, the entire session will be translated into Tagalog for his benefit.

Two Tagalog-language court interpreters attended the session and took turns translating the proceedings. The accused (被告人) wore an earphone to listen to the proceedings in his native tongue.

He is accused along with two other youths of attacking a 26-year-old passerby (通行人、通りがかりの人) at around 11:05 p.m. Dec. 19 on a street near JR Kita-Toda Station.

They robbed the victim of around ¥30,000 and took other belongings, including a laptop computer. The victim was allegedly punched and kicked several times, sustaining (損傷を受ける) head injuries and a broken chin.

The accused and his accomplices (共犯者) allegedly committed a similar assault (暴行) Dec. 26 on a 22-year-old man in the same area and robbed him of around ¥7,000 and belongings.

The victim suffered facial injuries that required seven stitches (7針), according to prosecutors (検察官).

The prosecution in its opening statement said the accused, who had been a member of a local Filipino gang, had committed previous robberies and spent time in a juvenile correction center (少年院、少年鑑別所). He was on parole (仮釈放中で) when he committed the two crimes.

Prosecutors said they will prove the crimes were planned and repeated, and that the aim was to rob the victims of their money.

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-09-09 11:43 | 英語関連
Expectations for obesity surgery are rising in Japan, where about 600,000 people are reported to be morbidly (病的に) overweight.

Severely overweight people account for 0.5 percent of the country's population in terms of the body mass index, a measure of body fat calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared.

A BMI score of 35 or more is considered morbidly obese.

Treating obesity can involve gastric bypass surgery, in which the stomach is divided to restrict food intake.

According to medical experts, the annual number of surgical procedures to treat obesity is around 340,000 in the rest of the world.

The number in Japan is only about 100, but it is gradually increasing.

In anticipation of a future rise in the number of operations, the Japanese Society for Treatment of Obesity announced guidelines at a meeting in Tokyo in July, designating people with a BMI score of 35 or more and those suffering complications (合併症) from illness with a score of 32 or more as requiring treatment.

Japan is believed to lag behind (遅れを取る、大きく水をあけられる) other advanced countries in terms of surgical procedures for morbidly obese people, with about 300 carried out up to fiscal 2006, according to a survey compiled by Iwao Sasaki, a professor at Tohoku University who specializes in surgery and a former president of the society.

However, an additional 205 surgical procedures were performed at eight medical facilities in the last two years.

Isao Kawamura conducted the first surgical procedure on a severely overweight person in Japan at Chiba University in 1982.

Kawamura, honorary director of Kamagaya General Hospital in Chiba Prefecture, said such operations are necessary because the number of severely overweight people is increasing.

"Obesity is hard to cure," said Yasushi Saito, director of the society and president of Chiba University.

"Even those who manage to reduce their weight fail to keep it off."

He called for practitioners in the fields of medicine, surgery and psychiatry (精神科), as well as nutritionists and nurses, to cooperate on treating obese people for sustained (息の長い) periods.

Severe weight is a serious issue in the United States, where about 400,000 people reportedly die of obesity each year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said obesity is the second-biggest cause of preventable (予防可能な) deaths in the country after smoking.

Surgical procedures for obesity became possible in the mid-1990s with the introduction of the laparoscope (腹腔鏡) to examine the abdomen.

Such procedures have become commonplace in the U.S. and Canada, which are said to account for two-thirds of all such operations in the world.

Former sumo champion Konishiki underwent surgery in Hawaii in February 2008 and succeeded in losing more than 120 kg.

The former grappler (力士), who weighed 303 kg at one time, said his life has changed following the operation.

The recorded death rate among people who have undergone surgery is much lower in the seven years following an operation compared with those who have not received surgery, according to a followup survey conducted in the United States and European countries.

The Japanese Society for Treatment of Obesity is expected to start registering surgical procedures for the treatment of obesity and to make the figures public before the end of the year.

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-09-09 00:44 | 英語関連