<   2009年 08月 ( 33 )   > この月の画像一覧

In landslide, DPJ wins over 300 seats
LDP crushed; Hatoyama set to take power

The Democratic Party of Japan won the Lower House election by a landslide Sunday, grabbing more than 300 seats in the 480-seat chamber.

The victory by the main opposition party will end more than half a century of almost uninterrupted rule by the Liberal Democratic Party. It will also usher in DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama, 62, as the new prime minister by mid-September.

The DPJ-led opposition camp (野党陣営) secured 340 seats against just 140 for the LDP-New Komeito ruling bloc (与党連合). In the opposition camp, the DPJ alone had 308.

Flush with victory, DPJ executives started full-fledged (本格的な) preparations for launching a new administration (新政権) in the evening, party sources said, adding that talks were also planned with its two allies — the Social Democratic Party and Kokumin Shinto (People's New Party) — on forming a coalition government.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Taro Aso said he will step down as LDP president to "take responsibility" for his party's defeat. An election to pick his successor (後継者) as LDP chief will be held soon, he said.

LDP Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda also said on NHK the party's top three executives (党三役) have all told Aso they plan to resign.

"We'd like to straightly face the severe results. We will search our souls and start preparing for the next election," Hosoda said, adding that the LDP will overhaul (徹底的に点検する) its policies to gain more support.

The LDP also lost some big names in single-seat races, including former Foreign Ministers Nobutaka Machimura and Taro Nakayama, as well as Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano and former Finance chief Shoichi Nakagawa.

However, Machimura and Yosano regained their seats in proportional representation (比例代表).

New Komeito suffered even worse, with party chief Akihiro Ota and heavyweights (有力者) Kazuo Kitagawa and Tetsuzo Fuyushiba all defeated in their single-seat districts. They didn't "insure" themselves by putting their names on the party's list of proportional-representation candidates.

DPJ deputy chief (代表代行) Ichiro Ozawa declined comment before the poll results were complete but said "there is nothing (for voters) to worry" about concerning an impending (差し迫った) change in government.

"We'd like to steadily implement (遂行する) what we have promised to the nation," Ozawa told NHK.

Pre-election media polls showed the DPJ leading the LDP thanks to strong populist tail winds (一般向け追い風) propelled in part by frustration with years of stagnation (停滞) and mismanagement under the LDP.

As many as 1,374 candidates, including a record 229 women, competed for seats in the 480-member chamber — 300 in single-seat districts and 180 in the 11 proportional representation blocks nationwide.

Due to strong voter interest, voter turnout (投票率) was estimated to have reached 69.29 percent, exceeding the 67.51 percent in the previous general election in 2005.

A record 13.98 million people, or 13.4 percent of all eligible voters, cast early ballots.

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-08-31 23:15 | 英語関連

In late June the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched its LEAN Works Web site, a clearinghouse (手形交換所) of information on the health costs of employing fat people replete with (で一杯の) recommendations on how to prevent and control obesity. The site uses an "obesity cost calculator" to determine the added price of employing somebody with a body-mass index (BMI) of over 30, the threshold (境界、分かれ目) for obesity. The calculator asks employers to fill out a company profile including type of industry and location, employees' BMIs, and their wages and benefits. The software then estimates the "costs for medical expenditures and the dollar value of increased absenteeism resulting from obesity."

But is the federal government's endorsement (是認、賛成) of a device that essentially demonizes (悪魔化する) the 72 million Americans who fit the official definition of obese justified by the science? Dr. William Dietz, director of the CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, defends the site as one weapon in the larger war on fat. "We see this epidemic as a serious threat to health and serious medical cost," Dietz says. "We didn't feel like we could wait for the best possible evidence, so we acted on the best available evidence."

Other experts, however, say BMI is a crude (大雑把な、雑な) tool that fans fears (恐怖をかき立てる) of an obesity epidemic even as it fails as a reliable measure of an individual's health. "We made everyone fat by framing! That is the real epidemic," says Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado who coauthored a controversial study questioning whether obesity is a true health crisis or a moral panic.

The American Heart Association lists obesity as major risk factor for heart disease because it raises blood pressure, increases "bad" cholesterol while lowering "good" cholesterol, and carries an elevated risk of developing diabetes (糖尿病), itself a risk factor for heart disease. In addition, obesity has been linked to a wide range of health problems, including cancer, asthma, and sleep apnea (睡眠時無呼吸).

Nevertheless, it's hardly clear that there actually is an obesity epidemic, or that fat people are at greater risk of death than people of normal weight, or that weight loss—relentlessly (容赦なく、執拗に) promoted by public-health officials as the solution to America's weight problem—is an attainable (達成できる) goal at all.
by yu-fen-sun | 2009-08-30 17:36 | 英語関連
Obama vows not to forget lessons of Katrina
Says government red tape (お役所の仕事) should not get in the way of recovery

President Barack Obama promised Saturday that his administration would not forget what he called a tragic response to Hurricane Katrina. He said he would visit the still-recovering New Orleans before the end of the year.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president noted (言及した) that the Bush administration's response to the killer storm raised questions among people in the United States about whether the government "could fulfill its responsibility to respond in a crisis."

Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, killing more than 1,600 people in Louisiana and Mississippi and leaving behind more than $40 billion in property damage. Hurricane Rita followed almost a month later, with billions of dollars in additional damage and at least 11 more deaths.

Obama said he wanted to ensure "that the legacy of a terrible storm is a country that is safer and more prepared for the challenges that may come."

Since taking office, Obama has sent 11 members of the Cabinet to the region to inspect progress and to hear local ideas on how to speed up repairs.

"Our approach is simple: Government must keep its responsibility to the people, so that Americans have the opportunity to take responsibility for their future," Obama said in his address, released during his vacation on Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts.

Obama acknowledged that recovery has not come at an acceptable pace.

"I have also made it clear that we will not tolerate red tape that stands in the way of progress or the waste that can drive up the bill," said Obama. "Government must be a partner — not an opponent — in getting things done."

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-08-30 17:09 | 英語関連
by yu-fen-sun | 2009-08-30 17:02 | 日常生活関連
Vegetarian diet reduces cancer risk

A decade-long study in the United Kingdom has found that cancer is less common among vegetarians. Health experts have always thought that a vegetarian diet is healthier than one that includes meat. This latest research is one of the biggest studies to compare cancers in vegetarians and non-vegetarians. The researchers tracked the health of 63,550 men and women aged between 20 and 89. They separated people into different groups – meat-eaters, fish-eaters, and vegetarians. The research team reported a “significantly lower” number of cancers among the fish-eaters and vegetarians compared with those who ate meat. The study suggests being vegetarian could protect people against cancer.

The findings of the research have been published in the March 2009 edition of the ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’. Lead researcher Professor Timothy Key said his study was the first major research to look at the link between diet and cancer. "It suggests there might be some reduction in cancers in vegetarians and fish-eaters and we need to look carefully at that," he said. Vegetarianism is on the increase around the world. People are becoming more and more health conscious and are eating less meat, or cutting it out altogether (完全に止めてしまう). Some people choose a strict vegetarian diet that excludes all animal products. This means no dairy products (乳製品、酪農製品) or honey. Less strict vegetarians eat eggs and fish.

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-08-30 01:23 | 英語関連

Retire later to live longer

Retire later to live longer

Early retirement, as is commonly believed, does not help retirees to live longer and it may even shorten one's life. This is the conclusion of a study published on October 21 by the British Medical Journal. The research involved tracking more than 3,500 employees working for Shell Oil in Texas over a 26-year period. The workers retired at 55, 60 or 65 and were monitored to see what effect their age at retirement had on their lifespan. Researchers considered factors such as gender and socioeconomic status (社会経済的地位) in ascertaining (解明する、突き止める) whether retiring early is associated with better survival. It seems the findings have displaced the myth (通説を覆した) that spending our golden years at a leisurely pace away from the daily grind of the nine to five (9時から5時まで働くという日課) will increase our longevity. It appears that retiring later provides for a longer life.

The results were astonishing. The life expectancy of employees who retired at 55 was significantly reduced compared with those who retired at the age of 65. The researchers concluded that: “Retiring early at 55 or 60 was not associated with better survival than retiring at 65 in a cohort of past employees of the petrochemical industry (石油化学産業). Mortality (死亡率) was higher in employees who retired at 55 than in those who continued working.” Leader of the research team Shan Tsai said: “Although some workers retired at 55 because of failing health, these results clearly show that early retirement is not associated with increased survival. On the contrary, mortality improved with increasing age at retirement for people from both high and low socioeconomic groups.”

Active agingってやつですね。
by yu-fen-sun | 2009-08-30 01:06 | 英語関連
HIV virus a step ahead of body’s defences

A group of American and British scientists have discovered that the HIV virus is cleverer than they thought. Their research found the virus adapts very quickly to keep a step ahead of the body’s immune system. Their conclusions make it very clear that finding a vaccine is a huge challenge. One of the reasons for this is because the virus has many faces. The researchers believe the virus creates 14 different “escape routes” when it is attacked. This means the virus can adapt itself quickly and easily to beat any vaccine. Professor Philip Goulder of Oxford University calls this “high speed evolution”. He says: "Even in the short time that HIV has been in the human population, it is doing an effective job of evading our best efforts."

The research team analyzed data from more than 2,800 HIV-infected patients across five continents. They found the virus is adapting differently with different races. This makes the virus similar to separate armies, all adapting to their different environments. It is possible every HIV-infected person might need his or her own unique vaccine. American researcher Dr. Richard Kaslow warned “the challenge ahead in vaccine design is formidable (大変厄介な、手強い)”. Another American, Dr. Bruce Walker, said: “It's very clear there’s a battle going on between humans and this virus, and the virus is evolving to become unrecognized by the immune system." HIV has killed 25 million people worldwide. An estimated 33 million currently live with the virus.

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-08-30 00:52 | 英語関連
by yu-fen-sun | 2009-08-29 23:32 | 日常生活関連
Scientists Find A Reason For Itching

Scientists in the USA have found a type of nerve cell may be the reason we itch. The team from Washington University suggested itchiness was from specific cells. They also believe itching is not a minor form of pain. For decades, many in the medical community have put itching in the pain category. The researchers said they think itching is a completely different and unique sensation (感覚). Their decades-long research was on mice. It focused on how the brain reacted to itching and pain. They discovered an “itch gene”, called GRPR. The mice were injected with a chemical to kill this gene. The rodents (齧歯動物) were still able to feel pain, suggesting the two feelings are different.

The new research has great potential for cures and treatments of itches and itching-related diseases. There are over 50 illnesses in which itching leads to a poor quality of life. In some cases, the itching can be unbearable for the sufferer. Severe itching can lead to excessive scratching, which results in bleeding and infection (感染). Lead researcher Dr. Zhou Feng Chen said: "This finding has very important therapeutic implications. We have shown that particular neurons (神経細胞) are critical for the itching sensation but not for pain….[These] can be explored or identified as targets for future treatment or management of chronic (慢性的な) itching." He said cures for humans are still many years away.

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-08-28 14:34 | 英語関連

DPJ eyes SOFA environment tack

DPJ eyes SOFA (駐留米軍地位に関する協定) environment tack

If the Democratic Party of Japan gains power in Sunday's Lower House election, it plans to propose to the United States revising the bilateral Status of Forces Agreement to include a clause (条項) on dealing with environmental pollution or destruction at U.S. bases in Japan, DPJ members said Wednesday.

The intended clause is aimed at allowing the central and local governments to carry out (実行する) on-site (現場での) inspections of the environmental pollution or destruction, and obliging (義務付ける) U.S. forces to restore the situation to the original state, they said.

The DPJ plans to urge the United States to accept the clause, as the SOFA between the United States and South Korea already has one, according to party members.

If DPJ leader Yukio Hatoyama becomes the prime minister, he would request the change at a bilateral summit (二国間首脳会議) expected to take place around Sept. 23 in New York, they said.

The Japan-U.S. SOFA has not been revised despite soil contamination (土壌汚染) and other environmental problems at the bases (基地), said Tetsuro Fukuyama, deputy chairman of the DPJ Policy Research Committee.

A Foreign Ministry official said the United States may agree to the inclusion, because President Barack Obama is placing greater importance on the environment.

Such a clause would aim to have U.S. forces restore the environment following any environmental hazard caused by U.S. exercises or training.

Under the current agreement, Japanese authorities are unable to conduct on-site inspections of the hazards if the U.S. refuses and its forces do not have any obligation to restore the environment.

Okinawa has called for (要求する) such a clause following several cases of contamination found at sites returned by the U.S. military.

Also at issue (論争中の、未解決の) regarding the SOFA is obliging U.S. forces to hand over military personnel suspected of committing crimes to Japanese investigators before indictment (起訴) whenever demanded by Japan.

The DPJ has advocated a drastic review of the SOFA. It drafted revision ideas in March 2008, including the environmental clause, jointly with the Social Democratic Party (社民党) and Kokumin Shinto (People's New Party).

But in its pledges for Sunday's election, the DPJ says it will only propose revisions.

The election pledges of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party do not mention the SOFA.

by yu-fen-sun | 2009-08-28 00:56 | 英語関連