2009年 09月 13日 ( 7 )

As authorities continued their search for a Yale University graduate student and bride-to-be who disappeared several days ago, they said they are now examining potential evidence from a laboratory where she was last seen.

Items that could be evidence have been seized and are being analyzed, but none has yet been associated with Annie Le, FBI spokeswoman Kim Mertz said at a news conference Saturday.

Mertz would not confirm reports that the items found included bloody clothing. "I will categorically say a body has not been found," Mertz said. "Items that could potentially be evidence have been seized. None have yet been associated with Annie Le at this time."

Le was last seen Tuesday at a university laboratory. She swiped her identification card (身分証明書を機械に通す) to enter the building Tuesday morning, but authorities have found no record of her leaving, despite some 75 surveillance cameras (監視カメラ) that cover the complex (総合ビル).

Authorities said they still have not determined whether Le's disappearance is a criminal case. "We don't know where she is. We don't know what happened to her," Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said. "We don't know if a crime was committed or not."

Investigators, having already gone through the videos once, continued to review the surveillance tapes frame-by-frame (静止画で) Saturday to see if they overlooked Le, who could have changed into a laboratory coat (実験着) or other clothes before leaving the building. Mertz said the review included video enhancement being conducted by state police. "I do not know that it's definitive (明確な) that she has left the building at this point," Mertz said.

On Saturday, investigators took what appeared to be blueprints (見取り図) to the building. FBI agents were also spotted questioning a man outside the lab. When they finished talking, the man got in the front seat of the unmarked car and an FBI agent got in the back seat. The car then drove away.

Yale is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to Le's whereabouts (行方).

Le, who's of Asian descent, stands 4-foot-11 and weighs 90 pounds. Her purse, cell phone, credit cards and money were found in her office. Officials say there's no evidence of foul play (犯罪行為).

Le, originally from Placerville, Calif., was set to get married Sunday at the North Ritz Club in Syosset, N.Y., on the north shore of Long Island. Workers at the club say the wedding was canceled Friday.

Police say Le's fiance, Jonathan Widawsky, a Columbia University graduate student, is not a suspect (容疑者) and is assisting with the investigation.

At Le's apartment building across town, hopes for Le's safe return waned (弱まる). "I feel bad what happened to her," said Anna Beth Funk, who lives across the street from Le's apartment. "It broke my heart hearing she was about to get married because I love being married and it must be so hard for her fiance."

Wesleyan University professor Charles Lemert, who also lives across the street, said Le always took time to talk to his 11-year-old daughter. "I wish more than anything this could be solved and turn into some kind of misunderstanding, but it seems bleak (希望の無い)," he said.

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-09-13 23:06 | 英語関連

Real 'fraternity' with U.S.

Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Hatoyama's article on the "Banner of Fraternity (友愛関係)" — particularly the part that deals with globalization, Americanism and Japan's relations with her Asian neighbors — has drawn many comments both in Japan and the United States.

Most of them expressed concern about the ambiguity of his tilt toward a "more independent stance" and his emphasis on "closer relations with Asian countries." Some appear to be annoyed with his criticism of the excess of market principles (市場原理) and globalization.

Indeed, the article, at least in the abridged (要約された) English version — which omits (省略する) the major part of the reference to the "spirit of fraternity" — seems to be dotted with (点在している) expressions that may cause some concern in American minds. However, the reactions by some American commentators, as well as by some Japanese so-called diplomatic experts, seem a little exaggerated in their tone of dismay and warnings about this article.

It may therefore be useful for us, from the standpoint of future Japan-U.S. relations, to analyze the background of these warnings. In other words, if one analyzes the reasons and circumstances that lie behind the recent ripples (波紋) over the article, one could draw several lessons that both Japanese and Americans have to keep in mind in dealing with bilateral relations.

The important point that we have to reflect upon is the rapidity and intensity (激しさ) of the formation of an "alliance" between some American "experts" on Japan and Japanese intellectuals (有識者) who have been close to the conservative camp in Japan. They tend to echo each other whenever the Japanese side tries to "review" some aspects of the Japan-U.S. alliance.

The concerns or criticisms voiced by American "experts" have frequently been quoted by Japanese security or diplomatic "experts" as signs, or potential signs of strain (緊張), in Japan-U.S. relations. Then voices begin to be heard in Japan that there is a danger or risk of deterioration in relations with the U.S. These voices apparently take it for granted that any bad impact upon Japan-U.S relations should be avoided at all cost (いかなる犠牲を払っても) and that the upholding (進展、守ること) of good Japan-U.S. relations is, in itself, the most important priority in the diplomacy (外交) of Japan toward the U.S.

In the eyes of some Japanese "experts," keeping up good relations with the U.S. is essential for maintaining the credibility of the alliance. However sound (健全な) and reasonable it may appear at first sight, this approach confuses the question of credibility — based on the balance of interests — with the absence of criticism of the balance of the alliance. Convergence (合致) of strategic interests is more important than friendly sentiment.

Moreover, if the U.S. administration refuses to review what the Japanese conservative government agreed with the Bush administration on the grounds that a state-to-state agreement should not be altered as the result of a change in administration, it will be legitimate (合法な、正当な) for Japan and Europe to demand that volte-faces (180度の転換) of the U.S. administration with regard to the Iraq war or nuclear or environmental issues are not acceptable if they run counter to (~に逆行する、~に矛盾する) past international understandings with the Americans.

In any event, the argument that calm, good relations with the U.S. are the top priority for Japan is wrong. A truly good relationship is one in which both sides frankly discuss the merits and demerits of any part of their relations. Attempts to discourage Japanese comments that taste bitter to Americans do not, in the long run, serve to promote good relations between Japan and the U.S.

At present, there is a political danger that some conservative elements in Japan and their American counterparts are trying to form an invisible alliance to weaken the diplomatic credibility of new Japanese political forces by shouting that such and such comments or moves will have a bad impact on friendly relations with the U.S. Sensible people on both sides of the Pacific should defy (寄せ付けない) such cries and emancipate (解放する) Japan-U.S. relations from the hands of "good-relations-first advocates."

At the same time, the new administration in Japan should understand a sentimental rebellion (反乱) against "Americanism" does not serve any purpose and that Japan's relations with the U.S. should be fundamentally based on Japan's strategic considerations, taking into account the rise of China, the long-term role of American forces in Asia, and the possible roles that Japan could play between the two large "military" powers in Asia. Japan's "fraternity" with the U.S. should go far beyond "friendship."

それが、wise and considerate citizensを育むのです。
by yu-fen-sun | 2009-09-13 22:45 | 英語関連

What gomi problem?

There is a growing concern in Japan about gomi yashiki, or trash houses, created by people who hoard (ため込む) useless stuff. Eventually, their collections start overflowing from their houses onto the streets. Such people often have more feline (猫科の) friends than human. I never realized that cats shared this same predilection (偏愛、~への好み) for junk.

We have some of these gomi yashiki on our island. But the difference is that here, there is plenty of room to spread out, so people can collect an infinite amount of junk. Luckily, these keen collectors are not very good gardeners, so the grasses and weeds grow up over the junk and disguise it — as green piles of vines (つる) with the hint of something lurking (潜んでいる) underneath.

Some day people will uncover lost treasures preserved in people's back yards in piles of vines. Things thought lost forever will be found: ninja, the Ainu culture, and gold bars (金の延べ棒) with the imperial stamp on them.

The gomi yashiki problem is bound to get worse (悪くなる運命にある) with Japan's aging population. Because the older people get, the more of tight wads (けちな奴) they become. Wealthy people are no exception to the ever increasing fear of not having enough. The older they get, the more fearful they get and the more they hoard things, including money.

Even perpetual (永遠に続く、果ての無い) money hoarders can never hoard enough, and people thus feel they must economize (倹約する、節約する) in order to save more money to hoard. After all, why spend money on something like new clothes, when your closets are full of completely inappropriate things you can wear instead?

The Japanese government, which has thoroughly researched the non-spending habits of old people, is very aware of the Hoarding Factor which is why the inheritance tax (相続税) is so high in Japan. Sure, money can be given away in smaller increments (増加分、増加量) to avoid a tax, but old people don't give away their money, even in small increments. And the government knows this. They also know that the old folks are secretly playing the lottery and pachinko, and probably winning.

After having money hoarding tied up with the inheritance tax, the government is now looking at people who hoard garbage. One ward is considering fining people ¥50,000 or so for having too much junk. I'm not sure this is the right thing to do though. I mean, it would cost far more money to pay someone to come in and remove the stuff than it would to pay a fine for being able to keep it. And who would the money paid in fines go to? Probably not towards the problem or the inconvenienced neighbors.

On my planet, the United States, we have garage sales and moving sales. Perhaps the authorities in Japan should distribute free "Garage Sale" signs, and "Not Moving Sale" signs. At least the stuff would have a chance of moving on to someone else's gomi yashiki and each owner could turn some kind of profit on it.

One thing that helps contain the problem on our island is that people here do not have access to vast amounts of garbage to pilfer (盗む、くすねる) from the way people do in the cities, where millions of residents throw out (投げ捨てる) sodai gomi (big garbage) on special days of the year. The hoarders probably make special sodai gomi calendars, marking the days with big red pens as if they are national holidays: No need to shop for socks for another 4 years!

On the other hand, with a population of just 665 people, there is a much smaller number of trash heaps (ゴミの山) to pick here, so you have to watch your own trash very carefully. I'm convinced this is the real reason for the garbage police, the neighbors who stand guard at the garbage pile on certain days of the week. They're making sure no one steals it. Or redistributes it. Like good citizens, the neighbors are seeing off the garbage.

When my ex-landlord finally moved all his stuff out of my house, he had bags and bags of garbage to throw out, as most people do when they move. But as we placed it outside the house, we noticed that it started disappearing, a bag here, a bag there. We finally caught the culprit — a neighborhood lady quietly carrying each bag back to her house.

People often wonder why old people hoard. Well, why not? They have nothing to lose, except the pathway to get inside their house.
by yu-fen-sun | 2009-09-13 22:08 | 英語関連
President Barack Obama assailed (激しく非難する、口撃する) critics of his health care initiative Saturday, seeking to grab the megaphone from his opponents and boost momentum in his drive to get Congress to approve his chief domestic priority.

"I will not accept the status quo (現状) as a solution. Not this time. Not now," the president told more than 10,000 people during a rally that had every feel of a campaign event.

He said he wouldn't waste time with people who have decided "that it's better politics to kill this plan than improve it." He said he wouldn't stand by while special interests "use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are." And, he warned "If you misrepresent (不正確に伝える、事実を曲げて述べる) what's in the plan, we will call you out."

The president carried his reinvigorated (再活性された) pitch to overhaul (徹底的に点検する)and expand the nation's health insurance system the one-day trip to friendly territory. His address at Target Center was part of a weekend campaign by the White House to give the president as much exposure as possible after his prime-time (ゴールデンタイムの) address Wednesday to Congress.

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-09-13 03:37 | 英語関連
Caster Semenya, the 18-year old at the center of one of the biggest gender scandals in sports history, withdrew from a weekend race in South Africa amidst unconfirmed reports that her gender tests have revealed that she has both male and female sexual organs.

She was scheduled to compete in the 4,000 meters at the national cross country championships in Pretoria. Semenya's coach, Michael Seme, says his runner "isn't feeling well".

Yesterday, unsubstantiated (立証されていない) reports from Australia and England said that Semenya's tests showed that she has no womb (子宮) or ovaries (卵巣) and produces testosterone levels three times higher than a normal woman. The IAAF thinly denies the reports. (The organization's spokesman says he hasn't "seen" the results, which doesn't mean he hasn't "heard" the results. Nor has the IAAF come out and said that the reports are false.)

The Today Show aired a report on the Semenya situation this morning:

It's another chapter in an unfortunate story. It's easy to get caught up in the sensationalized aspects of Semenya's tale, but let's not forget that she's still just a teenager who is now the centerpiece (目玉的存在) of an embarrassing worldwide scandal. No matter how things progressed to this point (and we'll get to that later), Semenya is a victim in this story.

But let's operate under assumption that (~という仮定の下に) the tests were accurate and that Semenya has intersex (間性) conditions. If so, then there are three main questions that will need to be answered soon:

1) Will Semenya be stripped of (~を剥奪される) her gold medal?

Probably. It's hard to imagine that the IAAF would allow Semenya to keep the gold after what these tests reveal. The rules explicitly (明確に) state that a "gender verification" situation has to be approved and overseen by medical authorities. Semenya didn't do this. Fair or not, a rule is a rule.

2) Will Semenya ever be allowed to run again?

Reading the IAAF rules, it would appear that Semenya would be allowed to run if her condition was treated. Whether or not she would want to is anyone's guess. But there's also a chance she could be banned from running based on the answer to the next question.

3) Who knew about this and when did they know?

We haven't gotten this far down the road yet, but the next logical step in the progression of this sordid (浅ましい) affair is whether there was a coverup (もみ消し、隠ぺい) involved. Regardless of whether the intentions of Semenya and her handlers were nefarious (極悪な), they had to know of her ambiguous gender. Not having ovaries isn't something that goes unnoticed. If they did, then at what point did this turn from an unfortunate medical situation into outright deception?

If Semenya was an innocent running without knowledge of her condition, then there's not much the IAAF could do other than strip her medal and advise her on how to regain eligibility (資格、適任性). But if it can be determined that she knew she was running illegally (which would be tough to prove, but I'm starting to get the feeling that people knew -- how else would other coaches have known to order gender tests?) then there could be heavy sanctions (制裁) down the road (将来に).

These questions will be discussed in the coming weeks and will be the center of attention when the IAAF officially releases its findings in November. If you thought the tale of Caster Semenya was strange before, it's just getting started.

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-09-13 03:25 | 英語関連
Japan should find an alternative way to help stabilize Afghanistan if the incoming administration ends the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Indian Ocean refueling mission in support of U.S.-led antiterrorism operations in and around the war-torn (戦争で引き裂かれた、戦争で荒廃した) country, renowned (名声のある) U.S. scholar Joseph Nye said.

"The Indian Ocean refueling, I think, it's a symbolic Japanese support. . . . Finding a substitute for refueling is important if they decide to stop refueling," he said in a recent interview, calling for a more "civilian-based (一般市民向けの) contribution."

"Japan has talked about a more equal alliance. That includes the ability of Japan to help the United States. So that's part of equality," he said. "I think Americans are saying, 'If not refueling, then what?' "

Yukio Hatoyama, the Democratic Party of Japan president slated to be voted in (投票される予定である) by the Diet as prime minister next week, suggested Thursday there is no change in his policy to end the MSDF refueling mission, which has been ongoing (継続している) since 2001. The MSDF is also involved in antipiracy (反海賊行為の) patrols off Somalia.

Nye, a Harvard University professor emeritus of international political science and a former assistant secretary of defense, said last December he told DPJ leaders at the time, including Hatoyama, in a meeting in Tokyo that they should exercise caution (注意する) when discussing Japan-U.S. relations.

"I said that as a matter of friendly advice, they ought to be very careful on how they made certain statements . . . for example on the refueling," so the U.S. Congress would not interpret them as suggesting any pullback (撤退) from the bilateral alliance, he said.

Nye was upbeat (楽観的な) on the future course of the alliance.

"I'm optimistic that the U.S.-Japan alliance will stay as strong as ever because it's based on the self-interests of both countries and I think it's also based on 50 years of experience," he said. "The underlying (基本的な、根本的な) importance of the alliance remains as important as ever."

But Nye said many Americans were "surprised" by Hatoyama's recent essay carried by U.S. media that seemed to be against U.S.-led globalization and in favor of a greater Japanese focus on Asia.

"The feeling was that the criticism of globalization seemed odd since Japan has benefited so much from globalization," he said, adding the essay "had more to do with campaign rhetoric than it did as a real blueprint (設計図) for Japanese foreign policy under the Hatoyama administration."

Nye expressed concern about the Hatoyama administration's plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma outside Okinawa, despite a 2006 Japan-U.S. accord (合意) on the transfer of the facility within the prefecture.

"What worries me is that it took us so long to get the agreement we have that I would hate to see us trying to perfect it and waste as much time in the future as we've wasted in the past," he said.

"If you are going to improve the agreement without delaying the agreement, that's fine. But that would turn out to be hard to do," the professor emeritus said.

The relocation of the Futenma base by 2014 is a key item of the 2006 agreement. Japan and the United States also agreed that 8,000 marines and their dependents (扶養家族), who numbered some 9,000 at the time the 2006 pact was struck, will be moved to Guam from Okinawa when the Futenma relocation base is operational.

Asked for his advice to Hatoyama, Nye said that with the Japan-U.S. alliance being "one of the most important relationships in the world," it is vital "to be careful to maintain it and not to let small issues disrupt it."

Nye served as assistant secretary of state in the Jimmy Carter administration and as assistant secretary of defense in the Bill Clinton administration.

He is known as the author of a major post-Cold War U.S. defense strategy for East Asia in 1995 and as a pioneer of the theory of "soft power," which comes from diplomatic and cultural means.

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-09-13 00:39 | 英語関連

Recovery slower than expected

The economy grew less than initially reported in the second quarter due to a greater-than-anticipated fall in private inventory and capital investment (資本投資), revised data released Friday by the government showed.

Gross domestic product rose at a 2.3 percent annualized rate in the April-June period, lower than the Cabinet Office's preliminary (予備の、事前の) reading of 3.7 percent growth.

The second quarter saw Japan's first growth following four straight drops through the January-March period. However, the revised data indicated a less-than-robust recovery.

Despite the fall in capital spending (設備投資、資本支出), however, some analysts welcomed the revised figure as positive news for the economy since it showed a decreased level of inventory, helped partly by the government's fiscal stimulus.

"Since most of its downward revision was due to inventory, this is a good downward revision," said Takuji Aida, economist at UBS Securities Japan.

Private inventory contributed to the change in GDP by minus 0.8 percent in the quarter, compared with a preliminary figure of minus 0.5 percent. The latest negative reading was the largest since a minus 1.0 percent logged (記録された) in the January-March period of 1999.

"Inventories are falling further, which means the hurdle has been lowered (for the economy) to post growth during the July-September period," Aida noted.

Hiroaki Muto, senior economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co., agreed, noting the reduction in inventories of cars, electronic parts, devices and personal computers. He said the government's stimulus helped spur demand (需要を刺激する) for automobiles.

Muto also noted exports continued to be strong.

Exports of goods and services grew 6.4 percent in the quarter, up slightly from the initial reading of 6.3 percent.

Muto predicted that exports will grow at around 5 percent in the July-September period.

UBS's Aida, meanwhile, predicted the economy will likely continue to grow at an annualized pace of 3 percent through the October-December period, helped by the government's stimulus steps and the recovery of the global economy.

For the longer term, however, Aida forecast weaker growth — around 1 percent — in the next fiscal year starting in April as the effects of the stimulus fade.

Sumitomo's Muto also believes production will continue to grow through the July-September period. But he said the inventory adjustment is less likely to boost the economy beyond the October-December period.

Japan's growth will hinge on (~次第である、~に左右される) a recovery of the U.S. economy, a major consumer of Japanese products, Muto said. "We will ultimately have to depend on the U.S.," he said.

Following the GDP announcement, Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano said he hoped the incoming administration, led by the Democratic Party of Japan, will take necessary precautions to keep the economy on the recovery path.

"When reading that figure, we can clearly see that a full-scale economic recovery has yet to take hold (開花する、根付く)," Yosano said in a news conference. "To get the economy pointed in the right direction for next year, the new administration will have to pay sufficient and complete attention to the management of the Japanese economy."

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-09-13 00:16 | 英語関連