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29 juillet 2013 1 29 /07 /juillet /2013 15:24

Libération 19/7/2013

Mayumi Taniguchi. La femme banzaï

portrait

Cette professeure de droit d’Osaka a créé un parti-gag qui moque le machisme vieillissant de la classe politique japonaise.

Par ARNAUD VAULERIN


Photo Makoto Take pour Libération

C’est une femme en tenue léopard qui n’a rien d’une tigresse. A l’heure du «sextrémisme» énervé et dénudé des Femen, Mayumi Taniguchi se découvre en pétroleuse moqueuse d’une classe politique nippone grise et mâle qui renouvelle, ce dimanche, ses sénateurs (lire page 6). Le rire peut être une arme redoutable. Celui de Mayumi Taniguchi est libérateur, frondeur. Il sonne la charge contre une «politique de vieux schnocks, faite par des vieux schnocks, pour des vieux schnocks». La jeune femme, professeure de droit à l’université internationale d’Osaka (Japon), ne s’embarrasse pas d’une langue docte pour décrire le «triste cinéma politique de l’archipel». Ce diagnostic en forme de coup de sang fondateur a présidé à la création, en novembre, de son mouvement, le Parti national des vieilles ménagères (Ajop). La colère est parfois bonne conseillère.

Tout commence le 15 septembre. Trois mois avant les législatives, les partis élisent leurs généraux pour mener la bataille qui consacrera le retour de la droite nationaliste de Shinzo Abe. Ce soir-là, Mayumi Taniguchi est devant sa télévision, en simple mère de famille. «Je ne voyais que des vieux bouffons en costard, tenant des propos ennuyeux et poussiéreux. Pas une seule femme. J’ai eu honte pour mon pays.» Sur le ton de la raillerie, l’impulsive Taniguchi se lâche sur Facebook et propose de «créer le parti des "obachan", des vieilles ménagères pour concurrencer les hommes politiques». Elle est prise au mot. L’idée séduit. Les soutiens suivent. Le parti est créé dans la foulée. L’Ajop, qui n’a de parti que le nom, devient vite un groupe de pression et de discussion présent sur les réseaux sociaux et dans les milieux associatifs. Avec de petits moyens, des comités Ajop fleurissent du nord au sud de l’archipel. Ils raillent la politique familiale «machiste et mensongère» du Premier ministre, Shinzo Abe. Houspillent le centre gauche pour ses mollesses et ses promesses non tenues. Battent le tam-tam après les propos pathétiques du maire d’Osaka défendant la «nécessité des femmes de réconfort» dans les bordels de l’armée impériale durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Les obachan se sont trouvé des causes et une appellation péjorative qui fait mouche par son autodérision. Difficilement traduisible, «obachan» évoque à la fois les tantes, les femmes d’âge moyen excentriques ou délaissées, les ménagères pipelettes, les sans-grade. «Toutes celles dont se fout la classe politique», résume Mayumi Taniguchi. Elle se refuse à être candidate pour conserver sa «liberté de parole et d’action», mais soutiendra celles qui voudront se lancer dans l’aventure.

En politologue averti, Koichi Nakano salue «l’audace de Taniguchi et la nouveauté» de ce petit mouvement qui revendique 6 000 militantes sympathisantes. «Cette initiative est intéressante car elle renouvelle la tradition du féminisme souvent perçu au Japon comme un mouvement radical contrôlé par des femmes en colère. Par sa drôlerie, le terme obachan casse cette image.» Mayumi Taniguchi tient «beaucoup à ce terme, à l’opposé de la culture des lolitas et des femmes objets, silencieuses et soumises, si forte au Japon». A 38 ans, la dirigeante de l’Ajop s’affiche en détendue à la langue bien pendue. C’est une latine en legging blanc et large tunique que l’on rencontre à l’université d’Osaka. Longs cheveux de jais sur un visage rond et rieur, elle arbore tout un attirail d’étuis, de tablettes et sacs léopard qui emprunte au bling-bling et au kitsch à paillettes. «Elle s’est toujours maquillée et habillée ainsi. C’est une instinctive qui n’hésite jamais à dire ce qu’elle pense et blague sans cesse,témoigne une amie, discrète Tokyoïte. Mayumi incarne cette culture populaire d’Osaka, une ville ouverte et commerçante, beaucoup plus exubérante que Tokyo.»

Mayumi Taniguchi revendique le plaisir, le rire et le besoin de séduire. En vidéo, en photo, on la voit trinquant, dînant, entourée d’amies et de militantes. Au risque de se faire «engueuler par les féministes classiques», elle regrette leur «fermeture». «Trop souvent radicales, élitistes, trop à gauche, brandissant beaucoup d’interdits, elles se sont coupées des employées, des agricultrices, des ouvrières et des femmes au foyer.» Pas politicienne, ni grande théoricienne, la Latine d’Osaka exhume de son panthéon deux figures tutélaires et consensuelles : l’Austro-Américaine Beate Sirota, auteure à 22 ans des articles sur les droits des femmes dans la Constitution japonaise, et la Japonaise Fusae Ichikawa, à l’origine du droit de vote des femmes en 1946.

Mayumi Taniguchi n’est pas née féministe, elle l’est devenue à l’université. Jusque-là, elle vivait «sans problème, entourée d’hommes» à Osaka. Son père était joueur de rugby. Sa mère assurait l’intendance de la famille et de l’équipe au stade Hanazono. Dix ans durant entre les gradins, le gazon et le logement de fonction, Mayumi vit entre ses parents, son grand frère et une trentaine de joueurs qui apprécient une gamine au caractère bien affirmé. La parenthèse heureuse se referme sur les bancs de la fac. La jeune Taniguchi se porte candidate pour devenir représentante des étudiants. Refus ferme. «Je découvre alors la réalité d’une société machiste, figée, avec des hommes orgueilleux et méprisants.» La coutume, non écrite, voulait qu’au grand jamais une femme ne devienne déléguée des étudiants. Aujourd’hui encore, l’humiliation ressentie chasse le rire. L’étudiante encaisse, bûche le droit international, se promet d’enseigner le droit des femmes, enchaîne les petits boulots, puis se défoule en pratiquant la natation et l’aérobic.

Elle quitte l’université en féministe pressée chez qui la passion la dispute à la raison. «Après un coup de foudre qui n’a rien de féministe», elle épouse son mari quelques semaines après leur rencontre. Avant de se rendre compte que sa «belle-famille est très conservatrice, très pro-Shinzo Abe». Ils n’ont pas beaucoup de contact. Heureusement. Lors de conférences et de réunions qu’elle enchaîne sans souffler depuis dix mois quand elle n’enseigne pas, Mayumi Taniguchi accable le Premier ministre du Japon qui veut modifier la Constitution pacifiste. Elle rappelle que le pays est classé en 101e position sur 135 dans le classement des inégalités hommes - femmes établi par le Forum économique mondial. Avant de vanter le manifeste (antiguerre, antinucléaire, antigaspi, antichômage) aussi simpliste qu’explicite de l’Ajop.

Dans le peu de temps qu’il lui reste, Mayumi Taniguchi s’occupe seule de son fils de 7 ans et de sa fille de 5 ans en «mère ordinaire». Son mari, publicitaire en mission en Inde, n’est pas au courant de ses activités. Mayumi Taniguchi ne lui en pas soufflé mot. Pour «être plus libre», elle a choisi cette fois de se taire.

Photo Makoto Take

En 6 dates

6 mars 1975 Naissance à Osaka (Japon).

1981-1991 Vit dans un stade de rugby.

1993 Entre à l’université d’Osaka.

2006 et 2008 Naissances de ses enfants.

23 novembre 2012 Création du Parti national des vieilles ménagères, l’Ajop.

21 juillet Elections sénatoriales au Japon.

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29 juillet 2013 1 29 /07 /juillet /2013 04:40

- Fly Me to Minami 恋するミナミ (Directed by Lim Kah Wai (林家威), Film Business Asia 24/7/2013

 

 

Fly Me to Minami 恋するミナミ

Japan/Singapore
Contemporary drama
2013, colour, 16:9, 106 mins

Directed by Lim Kah Wai (林家威)


Fly Me to Minami


By Derek Elley

Wed, 24 July 2013, 09:15 AM (HKT)


Pan-Asian drama centred on two couples in Osaka hooks the viewer after a slow start. Asian events.

Story

The present day, mid-December. In Hong Kong, fashion magazine editor Sherine (Sherine Wong) is told by her boss Eileen (Crystal Black) to think more commercially. In Osaka, Japan, university graduate Otsuka Tatsuya (Kohashi Kenji), who lives with his elder sister Naomi (Ishimura Tomomi) and mother (Kondo Rieko), goes off for yet another job interview. From the same city, Korean-Japanese air hostess Seol-a (Baek Seol-a) flies to Seoul, where she visits a friend, Min-jun (Kim Yu-hyeon), who's just broken up with her boyfriend. In Hong Kong, Sherine tells a friend, Kiki (Apple Ng), that she's thinking of leaving her job; but then she's suddenly sent by her boss to spend the year-end period in Osaka and write a feature about Minami, the city's trendy shopping, eating and entertainment area. At the last moment, Sherine's photographer, Michael (Phil Shek), cannot go with her because of his wife's pregnancy. In Osaka, Sherine's friend Naomi tries to find a local photographer but they're all busy; finally she recommends her brother Tatsuya, who is a talented amateur - and needs the work. At the same time, Seol-a arrives back in Osaka and gets together with her married lover Shinsuke (Takezai Terunosuke). She demands more and more of his time, and his wife Ayako (Fujima Miho) starts to suspect something. Meanwhile, Sherine and Tatsuya end up spending the evening together when Naomi is called away by a friend.


Review

After a big step forward with New World 新世界の夜明け (2011), Malaysian-Chinese film-maker LIM Kah Wai 林家威 finally comes good with his fourth feature, Fly Me to Minami 恋するミナミ, which manages to preserve his individual, somewhat distanced style while still holding an audience's interest. Again centred on Lim's adopted home of Osaka, and again set at year's end, Minami is another study of lost, itinerant souls looking for companionship — but this time with a criss-crossing narrative format and some genuinely likeable characters to draw the viewer in. A couple of archly played scenes recall Lim's earlier movies; but in general the film breathes a self-assurance that's new to his work — and in the final scenes manages to pack an old-fashioned emotional punch as well.

In some respects, Minami is like the flip-side of New World — set in a glitzier area of the city and among better-heeled denizens — and also follows its characters through to the end on a purely metaphysical level rather than falling back on a crime story for a finale. Most of all, however, Lim again shows he's one of Asia's few truly trans-national film-makers, here mingling a variety of East Asians (Chinese, Korean, Japanese) with absolute naturalness and no perceptible bias, as well as building convincing relationships between people who hardly speak each other's tongues. There's none of the usual awkwardness that afflicts so many bigger-budgeted pan-Asian movies.

The script takes a while to clear its throat and get all the characters in the same place at the same time — Osaka's trendy eating, shopping and entertainment area of Minami, in the run-up to Christmas. Once done, it focuses on two emotionally needy young women who, in different ways, need to move on: workaholic singleton Sherine, a fashion magazine editor from Hong Kong, and Seol-a, a Korean-Japanese air hostess with a married lover. Sherine handles her loneliness by pouring everything into her work; but a meeting with a younger Japanese guy opens up emotional doors for for both, if they're prepared to go through them. Seol-a, on the other hand, funnels all her emotions into a relationship that obviously has no long-term future — her lover has a nice wife and kid, to whom he's devoted — but she adamantly hangs on to her illusions.

As the two women's paths keep almost crossing during the Christmas/New Year period, the movie builds up two contrasting relationships: the will-they/won't-they between professional media type Sherine and the boyish Tatsuya, and the loving but essentially doomed relationship between Seol-a and her languidly duplicitous lover Shinsuke. The weakness in the second is that there's no reason given for Shinsuke to be having an extra-marital affaire, unless his relationship with Seol-a is purely sexual and largely driven by her rather than by him. (Both, it's very vaguely hinted, may be true.) In any event, narratively it's a much less interesting relationship than the gradually blooming one between Sherine and Tatsuya — a bond that turns into a real cliffhanger at the end, capped by a charming, almost off-hand coda.

In her first leading role in a feature, former Miss Malaysia Sherine WONG 黄淑玲, now 34, acquits herself pretty well, building a cautious, lightly comic chemistry with KOHASHI Kenji 小橋賢児 as the younger, less confident man. Most importantly, by going with his own film's flow Lim creates a situation in which the audience actually wants the pair to get together. Also in her first leading film role, South Korean actress BAEK Seol-a 백설아, 29, manages to convey her character's devotion/frustration with very little help from TAKEZAI Terunosuke 竹財輝之助, here rather blank as her married lover.

Production credits are fine for an obviously modestly budgeted indie production, with d.p. KATO Tetsuhiro 加藤哲宏 capturing the glossy, touristy side of Minami (and the sterile lines of Osaka's Kansai airport) as professionally as he caught the city's seedier side in New World. Cinematography in Hong Kong and Seoul is equally natural, and editing by Lim himself is generally tight.

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6 avril 2013 6 06 /04 /avril /2013 05:57

 

Merci: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201303310007

A spiritual awakening in the slums of Osaka

By AKIRA FUJIU/ Staff Writer

31/3/2013

OSAKA--Japan's biggest slum is barely a hop and a skip from the downtown of Osaka, Japan's second-largest city, where neon-lit streets scream affluence and the good life.

But in the Kamagasaki district, in the city's Nishinari Ward, an altogether bleak slice of life awaits those who dare to venture.

It is filled with dirt cheap lodgings for those who are just able to scrape by. And there are those who can't even find a place to sleep on the streets.

And yet, despite the grim surroundings, something of a miracle is occurring: Amid lines for soup kitchens and overnight shelters, churches operating in the area report a rising number of Christian converts.

Many residents are once-homeless people who survived on irregular day-laborer wages. Others who eventually managed to draw social welfare benefits stay because rooms for rent are so affordable.

At the heart of the community is Naniwa Church. Quite a number of the area's needy residents have found inspiration in the church's teachings.

At a year-end baptism ceremony, 40 or so men and women turned up to celebrate with two men being blessed with holy water.

The two were day laborers, aged 62 and 45.

One sought spiritual help to escape his dependence on alcohol. The other man was trying to make a new start after swearing off his gambling addiction.

Christianity exerts a powerful presence in the district.

Alcoholism is rampant among many of the homeless. Church staff routinely make the rounds on bitter winter nights to assist those who find solace in the bottle.

Once a week, Naniwa Church, which is affiliated with the Korean Christian Church in Japan, provides a soup kitchen that offers "onigiri" rice balls and miso soup. The food is served from a van in a nearby park, where as many as 200 people form a line on occasion.

"I am grateful to the church, but I am here for food (not religion)," said one man waiting for a handout. Others, however, are moved by the church's teachings and turn to its faith.

"What about delicious, super delicious, miso soup!" said a church volunteer as he prepared to fill outstretched bowls.

The volunteer, a 63-year-old who is part of the live-in staff, makes it a rule to visit lodgings that members rent. Most of them are elderly and living alone in apartments.

The man, too, once slept in the streets.

He told The Asahi Shimbun that he used to work as a doctor at a hospital in the Kanto region.

"About 10 years ago, I was involved in a medical mishap in which the patient died," he said. "I had an overpowering feeling that I needed to stop looking down at nurses and patients. I decided that I could change my sense of self-worth if I came to live in Kamagasaki."

He would take shelter in a public employment office during the day and spend nights at a public shelter.

The man said he had no cares in the world at that time, and made no attempt to find work. He relied entirely on church meals.

"They gave me twice what a set menu at an ordinary eatery would provide. I was pleased that Naniwa Church understood that people who sleep in the streets think only of their next meal."

The man said he used to follow the teachings of a Zen Buddhist temple and never gave any thought to changing religion.

But while walking to the church for a free meal, he recalled being moved by the words of a pastor: "The act of doing what one can to help the weakest and poorest in society is as honorable an act as what one does for God and Jesus Christ."

It was like a light bulb went off in his head. He decided to volunteer his time as a member of the church staff.

Four South Korean churches with several Japanese ones carry out missionary work in Kamagasaki.

Despite its grim surroundings, Naniwa Church is regarded as a success story. However, the Rev. Kim Jong-hyun prefers not to view its activities that way.

After arriving in Japan in 1996, Kim set about organizing the soup kitchen in Kamagasaki. Initially, it was intended for needy Koreans, but he quickly realized that many destitute Japanese were also forming lines because they were hungry.

Kim helps to find housing and arranges welfare benefits for those who choose to become Christians.

All-too-often, however, the converts revert to their old ways--sodden in alcohol--as soon as their lives start to get better, Kim said.

"Even if one has economic relief, a person can still live in solitude," he said. "At times like that, people need their faith even more."

In the past, churches in Kamagasaki had refrained from missionary work, mainly because of pressure from labor unions.

However, the end of big construction projects like Kansai International Airport in the late 1990s negatively affected the market for day laborers, which weakened the influence of the labor movement.

Tatsuya Shirahase, a sociologist at Osaka City University with a keen interest in the Kamagasaki situation, said: "Labor movements used to support day laborers, but as their market shrank, so did the movements. South Korean Christian churches, which are free of constraints, replaced them by holding meetings with meals provided. This eventually attracted people who were sleeping on the streets.

According to the city of Osaka, some 40 percent of 26,000 residents in Kamagasaki are aged 65 years or older.

 

ALUMINUM CANS

 

One night in November, a police car turned up at Naniwa Church around midnight. The passenger who got out was a 75-year-old man, a Christian convert, who had difficulty curbing his itinerant lifestyle. He had bolted from the protection of the church and walked more than 10 kilometers to Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, which is where the police found him.

The man had run away 69 times since he took the Christian faith seven years ago.

Coming from a "mikan" mandarin orange farming family in western Japan, he went to Osaka to find work when it was gearing up to host the Osaka Expo 1970.

He developed tuberculosis. He survived by scrounging aluminum cans and used paper products for recycling. He moved from one slum to another across the country.

One day after he returned to Osaka, he was found slumped in a cart by a church attendant.

He now lives in a rundown two-room apartment. With health worries constantly on his mind, he frequently runs away.

Each time he does that, fellow church members welcome him back like a member of the family.

As a gesture of thanks, he brings aluminum cans to the church for recycling, calling it a donation.

The man prays at the church each morning, asking that he will go to heaven.

By AKIRA FUJIU/ Staff Writer
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6 avril 2013 6 06 /04 /avril /2013 05:51

Merci http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0000094238

'Popular theater' to make debut in Osaka's Kita district

April 6, 2013

[Hirosato Nishida / The Yomiuri Shimbun]



OSAKA--Taishu engeki, popular stage performances of human dramas, as well as dances by beautiful female impersonators in kimono, will have a new home at a former movie theater in Osaka's Kita entertainment district.

The theater is being refurbished by Teruhisa Yamazaki, 65, who operates Ikeda Gofukuza, a similar theater in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture. His latest venue will open in May and be christened Umeda Gofukuza.

The theater will seat 245 people in an atmosphere reminiscent of the Edo period (1603-1867) with paper lanterns and banners as part of the decor. Hoping to attract female office workers at the end of their workday, performances will begin at 6 p.m. and cost only 2,000 yen--about the same as a movie. "I want to create a theme park of stage performances in an urban area," Yamazaki said.

The origin of taishu engeki is said to be associated with kabuki and dates back to the Edo period. It is usually performed in smaller venues, allowing the audience a more intimate bond with the performers. After shows, cast members meet with the audience, who treat them like pop idols.

Taishu engeki is also known as "tabi shibai," or stage performances by traveling troupes. These troupes were formed during the Meiji era (1868-1912) by local people who performed "village kabuki" in farming villages. Others were established by performers who were less-than-successful in large theater groups. Both performed across the country.

They used elements such as traditional music and choreographed swordplay to distinguish themselves from other troupes.

Their popularity waned as TV became widespread. However, it was revived by Tomio Umezawa, 62, and others in the 1980s. Umezawa, who was acclaimed for performing women's roles, was known for his beauty and elegance and nicknamed "Tamasaburo of downtown" after the popular kabuki actor Bando Tamasaburo.

Currently, about 150 troupes tour at 40 theaters and other places across Japan, with runs of about one month at each. About 90 percent of the audience are women. Recently, 21-year-old Taichi Saotome and other young actors have become popular among high school girls.

Engeki Graph, a magazine covering the genre, began publication in 2000. According to the publisher, Masayuki Kanno, circulation was initially about 2,000, but is now about 13,000.

"After shows, performers are willing to shake hands with the audience and pose for photos," Kanno said. "They are similar to the AKB48 pop group as idols you can meet personally, but with a much longer history."

Osaka Prefecture is home to 11 theaters for taishu engeki. A new theater, one of the largest in the country, opened in front of Kyobashi Station last autumn. Another one is scheduled to open in the Juso district in April.

According to Yamane Engeisha, an Osaka-based company that coordinates troupes and theaters, audiences numbers have been on the rise in recent years and hit about 300,000 in the prefecture last year.

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25 février 2013 1 25 /02 /février /2013 01:58

Source: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/economy/business/AJ201302240036

 

Tough times leave Osaka day laborers homeless, jobless and on welfare

February 24, 2013


By YASUYUKI NISHII/ Senior Staff Writer

OSAKA--In Japan's rosier economic times, day laborers were in hot demand for short-term jobs mainly in construction. These days, many are on welfare, being left unemployed and seeking a bed in a free shelter.

This city's Kamagasaki district is known for its large population of day laborers. The mood here is bleak.

"Kamagasaki was last bustling several years ago, when Sharp Corp. built a plant in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture," says a 59-year-old man who has been resident in the neighborhood for more than 30 years. He gives his name only as Miyazaki.

Miyazaki said he slept the previous night at a free shelter for day laborers. He awoke at 3:30 a.m. and headed to the Airin labor welfare center.

"You cannot get a job unless you go there early," he explains.

Dozens of vans are parked outside the center. Brokers are shouting, "Take up a day's work!"

Men examine slips posted on the vehicle windows. One offers 6,800 yen ($73) for demolition work. Another quotes 9,000 yen for regular construction work. There is nothing for Miyazaki.

Many men seem to be in the same boat, and within an hour or so most have left. They will have to find somewhere to spend the day, perhaps on the street, before standing in line again for a place at a free night shelter.

"You cannot withstand the cold in the park without a cup of 100-yen shochu (distilled liquor)," Miyazaki says, his breath reeking of alcohol. "You cannot be stone sober, either."

In Kamagasaki, one in three day laborers is on welfare.

On any one day, only 5,000 to 8,000 jobs are offered in the district. This is, at most, a third of the work available in the late 1980s during Japan's asset-inflated economic boom. Some jobs require workers to stay in camps.

"These days, TV sets and washing machines are assembled in China and South Korea where wages are low," said a 64-year-old man who gave his name as Shibuya. "It is not surprising that there are fewer jobs for day laborers."

He said he receives 120,000 yen a month in welfare benefits.

 

"EPITOME IN NEAR FUTURE"

 

Fewer factories are being built, and there has been a decline in the number of public works projects under way. And heavy machinery can perform many of the tasks that aging laborers once did.

Men in Kamagasaki who work for at least 13 days in a month are eligible to benefits from a type of employment insurance for day laborers.

But the shortage of work means many cannot count on meeting the required number of days. Since the 2008 financial crisis, thousands of day laborers have been forced to go on welfare or live on the streets.

The number of people on welfare continues to grow in Japan, setting new records almost every month. As of October, there were more than 1.56 million registered recipients, 43 percent of them households of people aged 60 and above.

Minoru Yamada, director of Kamagasaki Shien Kiko, a nonprofit organization which supports homeless people in Kamagasaki, says the community of day laborers is "the epitome of Japan in the near future."

"We must expand public support for employment and come up with new ways to secure jobs," he said. "That way, we can reduce spending on welfare benefits."

Yamada said some people shut out of the labor market were reclassified as "sick" and admitted into facilities so that they could receive welfare benefits accordingly. But he said such stopgap measures will not work anymore.

Some laborers who do not want to go on welfare have taken cleaning jobs offered by the Osaka prefectural government in a program designed to tackle unemployment.

The program pays 5,700 yen for a day of cleaning streets and parks, although each laborer is allowed to work only five days a month. About 1,500 people are registered for the program.

"I want to continue earning money for as long as my body will still move," said a 67-year-old man who gave his name as Sakamoto.

He said he had first come to Kamagasaki in 1970, when an expo was held in Osaka. "In those days, I was fit and well, and Japan, too, had momentum."

When he is not on a cleaning job, Sakamoto collects empty cans on the street. He earns roughly 1 yen per can.

 

"UNABLE TO SURVIVE"

 

Osaka has the largest percentage of welfare recipients of 20 major cities.

A growing number of young temporary workers are on welfare, and the overall percentage of temporary workers in Osaka Prefecture is far higher than the national average.

One 30-year-old temporary worker at the factory of a Panasonic Corp. group company in Osaka Prefecture has received several tens of thousands of yen in welfare benefits since June.

His hourly wage is a little over 1,000 yen, and he is not entitled to bonuses. The father of three said in a good month his take-home pay is more than 200,000 yen, including overtime, but even that fails to cover the family's expenses.

"I am employed by a staffing agency. However, the company I work at is a large one," he said. "I never imagined that I would be unable to survive without welfare."

Last year, Panasonic announced a heavy loss. He was told his factory would close for many days in the summer to cut back production of TV sets and audio products. An enforced holiday brings no reward for dispatch workers paid by the day.

"I thought it would leave me unable to make ends meet," he said.

Ninety percent of the 100 or so workers at the factory are employed by staffing agencies because the company has been squeezing costs wherever possible.

"Our jobs are hard, but we have put up with low wages," the man said.

When business conditions dived further, his contract was terminated after six months.

He is back in work again now, but increasingly fears that his three-month contract may not be renewed at the end of March.

Amid the uncertainty, rumors are rife. One says that one-third of the workers will be let go. Another says the axed workers will be chosen by lottery regardless of their record.

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22 février 2013 5 22 /02 /février /2013 02:18

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xXaejvp_VQo/URn-lDTcA3I/AAAAAAAAJFc/U1QyQXWLGd0/s320/photo_01.JPG

(Source: Visual Anthropology of Japan)

おおさかエイズ情報Now: http://www.osaka-aids-now.info/ (japonais)

Japan HIV Center: http://www.npo-jhc.com/index.htm (japonais et anglais)

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14 septembre 2012 5 14 /09 /septembre /2012 14:40

Un excellent article de Nippon.com: http://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/a01103/

What to Make of Hashimoto Tōru?


Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Tōru has been grabbing a major share of the political limelight in Japan. Is he a reformer or a rabble-rouser? A journalist who has been covering him closely offers a look at the essence of this charismatic figure.

Just who is Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Tōru? All of Japan’s media organs are trying to determine his true identity. Is he a genuine reformer, or is he a demagogue of unrivaled caliber? Will he be a flash in the pan, or can he make it as far as the prime minister’s seat? His unorthodox image as a politician has led some people to label him a monster. This much is clear: The history of Japanese politics has rarely seen such a fuss over a local leader.

Always Conscious of the Media

Hashimoto became governor of Osaka Prefecture (with the second-largest economy among Japan’s 47 prefectures) in February 2008 at the age of 38. Since then he has been a constant source of news. Why is this? As one of the journalists following his words and deeds, I can offer one explanation, namely, his relationship with the media.

Hashimoto Tōru , center left, and Matsui Ichirō, center right, rejoice with their supporters after their victory in the 2011 Osaka double election. (Photo: Jiji)

Hashimoto has declared, “If it weren’t for the media, somebody like me couldn’t exist as a politician. If the media turned their backs, it would be the end of me.” This suggests that he is constantly thinking of how to get media coverage. One good example is the November 2011 double election for the Osaka prefectural governorship and for mayor of the city of Osaka. Hashimoto has revealed that he staged this based on his calculation of how to win media attention.

Hashimoto campaigned for the mayor’s seat on the basis of a call for reviving Osaka by combining the municipal and prefectural governments into a single metropolitan government like that of Tokyo. The incumbent mayor of Osaka was opposed to this “Osaka Metropolis” concept, and so Hashimoto decided to step down as prefectural governor and run in the November 2011 election for the lower-ranking position of mayor in a bid to oust this opponent. This resulted in the holding of a simultaneous election to fill the vacant governor’s seat—the first such double race in Osaka in 40 years.

Hashimoto arranged for a close ally, prefectural assembly member Matsui Ichirō, to run for the governorship while he ran for the mayor’s post. Facing opposition from all the major political parties except for the New Kōmeitō, Hashimoto consistently fostered the impression that he and Matsui represented the reform camp and that the existing parties and rival candidates were reactionaries. They both won on a groundswell of voters’ dissatisfaction with the prolonged economic downturn, the stagnation in national politics, and hopes for change.

Comparing Hashimoto with Prime Minister Koizumi

Hashimoto’s successful double election maneuver further strengthened his appeal. He announced that the local party he heads—Osaka Ishin no Kai, or the Osaka Restoration Association (also known as “One Osaka”)—would field candidates in the next general election for the House of Representatives, the lower house of the National Diet. When the Ishin Seiji Juku (Restoration Politics Academy) was launched to groom a slate of 400 candidates, it was flooded with 3,326 applicants, of whom 2,045 were accepted; lectures at this political academy started in March 2012. The plan is to narrow the group down to 888 on the basis of the attitude they show at the five lecture sessions and their campaign-funding power; these remaining aspirants are to undergo practical training, including delivering street-corner speeches, from July on. The major political parties see Hashimoto’s party as a threat. In addition to preparing legislation to implement his Osaka metropolis concept, they have been continuing to look for ways of allying with Hashimoto in the next lower house election.

Hashimoto’s performance may remind some people of that of Prime Minister Koizumi Jun’ichirō (2001–06), who declared that he would “destroy” the Liberal Democratic Party, the ruling party of which he was president, and who called a general election for the House of Representatives in August 2005 in which he arranged for the nomination of “assassin” candidates to knock out veteran politicians who had opposed his plan to privatize the postal services. Like Koizumi, Hashimoto has adopted the campaign tactic of presenting a picture of sharp confrontation between two clearly defined positions, and he shares the talent Koizumi showed for delivering his message in the form of punchy sound bites. Also, like Koizumi, he has the charisma to attract a large body of faithful political followers.

Koizumi, however, was a long-time veteran of the factional politics within the LDP, and he gained his position in the media spotlight after reaching the pinnacle of his political career by becoming prime minister. Hashimoto, by contrast, emerged suddenly without any political experience and advanced himself by using the media as his lifeline. And he is still young—currently 43.

Koizumi was the first prime minister to adopt the practice of taking questions twice a day from the media team covering him. I was part of that team myself for a while when I was based in Tokyo. These sessions were generally just a few minutes long, about 10 minutes at the most, and often they would be cut short while the reporters were still asking questions. Hashimoto has adopted a similar practice of taking questions twice a day, but unlike Koizumi, he keeps at it until the reporters have run out of questions for him, and the sessions can last as long as an hour. In addition he holds a regularly scheduled press conference once a week, where it is not unusual for him to keep talking for almost two hours.

This openness to questions is accompanied by close attention to the media coverage he receives. Hashimoto checks all the major daily newspapers in the car as he rides to work in the morning, and in the evening he checks the tapes of television news programs. If he finds himself misreported, he immediately posts complaints on Twitter, identifying the media organ and reporter by name.

In February 2012, a senior officer of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan caused a commotion by shutting out one newspaper organization from his press conferences after it published an article he disliked. Hashimoto remarked, “If it were me, I’d have the reporter come [to my press conference] and bad-mouth him.” I know of no other politician who is as obsessed with the media as Hashimoto is.

Fiscal Reform: The First “Play” in Hashimoto’s Political Theater

Before becoming governor of Osaka Prefecture, Hashimoto worked as a lawyer. He cut an unconventional figure, sporting dyed hair and wearing T-shirts and jeans even to court sessions. He has explained that this was part of a sales strategy to leave a strong impression on potential clients. This, together with his ardent work, allowed him to set up his own individual law office at age 28, just one year after he received his license to practice—something that is normally expected to take about 10 years. He quickly won a reputation as a lawyer skilled in negotiating out-of-court settlements.

Hashimoto’s unusual talent won him attention, and when he started appearing on TV as a commentator, he quickly became a popular figure, attracting people with the gap between his casual appearance and the staid image of the legal profession. He caught the eye of Sakaiya Taichi, a well-known author from Osaka, who encouraged him to run for the Osaka prefectural governorship. That, very briefly, is the story of his career up to his entry into the world of politics.

To understand Hashimoto, it is important to consider his experience as a TV personality. As Hashimoto explains from his own experience, TV is a medium where “you can’t get through to viewers unless you have a knock-out brand.” Commentators must offer clear and simple pronouncements on complex matters and sometimes shock the home audience by presenting extreme opinions. Statements must not be ambiguous; they need to be made more salient by being presented in clear black-and-white terms. Hashimoto has taken the approach he learned from TV with him into the world of politics. He has turned politics and public administration into a form of theater. The stage is not limited to election campaigning but extends to everyday meetings and to the policy-making process. By revealing this theatrical performance to the media, Hashimoto has fostered both support and opposition to his policies, creating the drama of confrontation.

The first “play” that Hashimoto put on was the drive to rehabilitate Osaka’s prefectural finances. Four years ago, when Hashimoto became governor, Osaka was saddled with a prefectural debt of almost ¥6 trillion and ranked second worst among Japan’s 47 prefectures in terms of fiscal rigidity (lack of financial leeway). On his first day in office, the new governor delivered an address to prefectural employees in which he declared, “This prefecture is a bankrupt firm. All of you are the employees of a bankrupt firm.” With this mediagenic sound bite, Hashimoto succeeded in spreading the message that fiscal reform was essential.

Hashimoto also adopted the surprise ploy of scrapping the almost-complete draft budget for the fiscal year starting in April 2008, replacing it with an interim budget for April–July, and putting together a sweeping plan for fiscal reform during that four-month interval.

The main plank of Hashimoto’s fiscal reform was reduction of the salaries of all the prefecture’s employees, numbering around 90,000. The margin of the cuts ranged from 3.5% to 16% depending on the post. This was combined with a 5% reduction in retirement allowances, the first such cut by any prefecture. The labor union representing prefectural employees protested, but Hashimoto countered by opening up the negotiations with the union, which had previously been conducted behind closed doors, and when a union officer said, “This is more than we can put up with,” he retorted, “In a private-sector company that can’t make ends meet, employees get fired.” The media coverage of this exchange resulted in a flood messages from the public—overwhelmingly in Hashimoto’s favor—to members of the prefectural assembly, which was deliberating the proposed cuts. Hashimoto made skillful use of the sense of bitterness felt by the general public toward the prefecture’s civil servants, who were enjoying job security at a time when the prolonged economic downturn was taking a toll on employment in the private sector; it seems fair to say that the governor fanned this sentiment and turned it into a tailwind of support.

“Slaves” of the National Government

How to get the message to the media—with this in mind, Hashimoto came up with a number of punchy phrases with which he made things move. One example was his attack on the cost-sharing system by which the national government has local governments pay a portion of the cost of its public works, such as road maintenance and river improvement projects in their jurisdictions. When Hashimoto became governor in 2008, Tokyo was simply sending bills to the local governments telling them how much they had to pay without spelling out the details, a practice that had given rise to considerable dissatisfaction among local authorities.

In February 2009 Hashimoto brought this matter to the fore with an announcement that the prefecture was going to refrain from including a portion of this cost in its budget for the coming fiscal year. He then headed to Tokyo and had a meeting with the head of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, which is responsible for this system. During the short interval when journalists and cameras were allowed in the meeting room, Hashimoto came out with a vigorous message: “The regions [local governments] are slaves of the country [central government]. I call for emancipation of the slaves.” With the use of the word slaves, the governor achieved wide diffusion of his message about the problems in the existing system. A month later he created more waves in remarks he delivered to a government commission. This time he said the national government was “like a bottakuri bā”—a bar that hits patrons with exorbitant bills. This was a longstanding issue, and the National Governors’ Association had been calling for abolition of the system since 1959, but governors had not pressed the demand with vigor, partly out of fear that Tokyo would cut back on public works in their prefectures. This changed in the wake of Hashimoto’s statements. One after another, governors spoke up in agreement, and pressure from the regions resulted in change at the national level, leading to partial abolition of the system in 2010.

Hashimoto also took on Japan’s prefectural and municipal boards of education. At the time of the nationwide test of academic achievement for elementary and junior high school students in fiscal 2008, the boards of education released the results broken down by prefecture, but they did not reveal the results for municipalities or individual schools on the grounds that this would lead to “ranking” among them. Hashimoto, who is the father of seven children, used a radio appearance to speak up from a parent’s standpoint, hurling a rude epithet (kuso) at the boards of education and calling on people to raise their voices in protest. He also called the people at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (responsible for nationwide coordination of the boards of education) “idiots” (baka) in front of the press. His open use of the rude words kuso and baka, ill befitting a public official, caused a stir, but his call for disclosure won considerable support from other parents of schoolchildren, and the following year the boards of education in Osaka Prefecture yielded, deciding in principle to release the results broken down by municipality.

Assessments of Hashimoto’s character are split, but everybody testifies to the tremendous amount of studying he does. People say he is unmatched in the way he learns intensively about various policy measures and systems, debates, and grasps the issues. As seen in the cases of the public works cost-sharing system and the boards of education, his radical pronouncements are not mere verbal abuse; he latches on to shortcomings in Japan’s dysfunctional systems, and his harsh words are the secret of his messages’ appeal.

Citing the Will of the People to Implement Cost Cuts

Hashimoto’s political style, which focuses on sending and receiving messages through the media, naturally leads to a standard of behavior based on what the people want and what actions will win popular support. When he set aside his campaign pledges to concentrate on cost cutting immediately after becoming governor of Osaka prefecture, he did so because he judged this to be the will of the people.

In addition to the reduction of prefectural employees’ salaries mentioned above, the new governor’s three-year plan for fiscal rehabilitation launched in fiscal 2008 included a long list of partial or total cuts of existing programs, including a 20% cut in construction spending, cuts of 10%–25% in subsidies to private schools, and the closing or privatization of 9 of the prefecture’s 28 cultural, sports, and other facilities for use mainly by residents. Those targeted for the cuts protested strongly, but just as in the case of the labor union, the publicly aired direct confrontations between Hashimoto and his opponents resulted almost without exception in victories for the governor, who brought to bear both the arguing skills he developed as a lawyer and the “will of the people” as transmitted through the media.

When Hashimoto ran into strong criticism over his plan to cut the annual subsidy of around ¥400 million paid to the symphony orchestra established by the prefecture, he came out with this brazen rebuttal: “The bureaucracy and business leaders put on airs of being cultured with their talk about the orchestra, but the culture of humor [manzai and rakugo] is more rooted in Osaka.” Hashimoto calls himself “uncultured,” and in his pursuit of efficiency he sometimes dismisses traditional and cultural elements with bombshells that seem to reveal ignorance on his part. This aspect is a source of serious concern. But he raises an essential question when he asks, “To what extent are we going to preserve culture using tax revenues and what types should we preserve?” In the end it was decided that the orchestra would stand on its own feet financially, with no subsidy from the prefecture. Hashimoto achieved what he had hoped from his focus on cutting costs, and during his term as governor he maintained support ratings of 70%-80%.

Feeding on His Position as Osaka’s Prime News Source

Hashimoto also moved to cut costs in the prefectural assembly. In advance of the local elections held in the spring of 2011, his Osaka Restoration Association successfully pushed for a 30% cut in assembly members’ compensation, reducing it to the lowest level among all the prefectures. And in the election campaign the party pledged to decrease the number of prefectural legislators by 20%. After the election, in which it won an outright majority, the party immediately rammed this measure through the assembly. Though many complained that the legislation was enacted without sufficient deliberation, the forcefulness of this move, which was adopted by legislators in the realization that it would cost some of them their own jobs, was a key factor underlying Hashimoto’s success in the double election later in the same year. The approach taken by the Osaka Restoration Association in this connection contrasts sharply with that of the national political parties, which have talked a lot about cutting legislators’ pay and reducing the number of Diet members but have failed to implement such reductions, and it is one of the reasons for the support directed at Hashimoto’s movement by people around the country.

Hashimoto Tōru and Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintarō meet with the press after the enrollment ceremony of the Ishin Seiji Juku in June 2012. (Photo: Jiji)

It is necessary, however, to take considerable care in assessing Hashimoto’s reform program. To give one example, in the three years following his inauguration as governor, Hashimoto improved the prefecture’s fiscal balance by a total of ¥300 billion, but the prefectural debt, which was ¥5,828.8 billion before he took office, rose to ¥6,073.9 billion as of fiscal 2010. The economic downturn caused corporate tax revenues to decline, offsetting the gains from spending cuts, and the prefecture has had to struggle under the heavy burden of debt from excessive reliance on bond issues to fund major public works projects in the past.

Speaking as a journalist, I think we should acknowledge that Japanese media tend to give big play to the showy confrontations and messages in front of their eyes but to be generally weak at follow-up checking. And for the media in Osaka, which does not have the range of news sources found in Tokyo, Hashimoto, with his presidential style of top-down decision making, serves as the top-rated source of stories, and coverage often focuses on his pronouncement of the day or his plans for the day to come. This media culture has clearly helped feed Hashimoto’s power.

Reforms Based on a Creed of Competition

One of the two perspectives that I see as keys to understanding Hashimoto’s policies is his creed of competition. He was raised by a single mother until he was 14 and graduated from a violence-plagued junior high school to go on to one of the most prestigious high schools in the prefecture; he subsequently made a place for himself both in the legal profession and the entertainment world through his own talents and efforts. With this background, he strongly believes in the efficacy of competition, and he applies this belief to public policy as well. For example, he supplied the driving force for the enactment by the prefectural assembly in March 2012 of a basic ordinance concerning prefectural employees and two basic ordinances concerning education, which have introduced some much stricter conditions: The new personnel assessment system for prefectural employees has resulted in a sharp increase in the share of employees receiving the lowest rating; previously this was applied to only about 1 employee in 2,000, but now 1 in 20 are getting it, and those who receive this rating two years in a row will be subject to discharge and required to undergo remedial training.

The newly enacted ordinances on education incorporate the idea of improving quality by promoting competition among teachers and schools. But this has had a negative impact on the prefecture’s recruitment of new teachers: Of the candidates who passed the fiscal 2012 prefectural examination for teaching positions at Osaka public schools, the percentage who turned down their acceptance was 3–4 percentage points higher than normal, the worst figure on record. The new provisions have been compared to the No Child Left Behind legislation adopted in the United States under President George W. Bush, which drew considerable criticism, and care will be required in their implementation.

The second key perspective is Hashimoto’s orientation toward reform of systems, organizations, and procedures. The Osaka Metropolis concept that Hashimoto is currently pursuing along with Governor Matsui forms the core of his thinking about system reform: Osaka City has powers of a level comparable to those of Osaka Prefecture; under Hashimoto’s concept the city and the prefecture would be merged so as to eliminate duplication in facilities and programs, and a new administrative setup would be created consisting of Osaka Metropolis, which would handle regional administration, and basic government units at a level close to the people. And the revised eight-plank set of policies that the Osaka Restoration Association made public on July 5, 2011, in preparation for fielding candidates the next national election for the House of Representatives includes a list of proposed changes in the nation’s core systems, including regrouping of the prefectures into larger regional blocs, direct election of the prime minister, and reform of the House of Councillors (the upper house of the Diet); the party trumpets these as a “great reset.”

Following Up on Hashimoto’s Reforms: A Media Responsibility

Today’s Japanese society is full of a sense of stagnation and is headed toward a gradual decline, buffeted by the waves of globalization. And as long as politicians at the national level remain unable to come up with fundamental reforms, Hashimoto will probably continue to exert influence. For now he is saying that he has no intention of entering national politics himself, but with the Diet caught up in unending political squabbles, we are bound to hear calls for him to become prime minister. Among the politicians in Tokyo one hears talk of a passive response to Hashimoto—sitting tight and waiting for his freshness to wear off—but given the nature of his popularity, the idea that the established parties can simply wait for his shelf life to end can only be called wishful thinking.

Still, I find it hard to swallow Hashimoto’s use of the term great reset as if it were a magic spell and his delusive idea that our society will change dramatically if we change our systems. And I cannot help sensing danger in the way he goes from one battlefield to the next, taking on new opponents each time and stirring up a furor.

For example, the introduction of single-member electoral districts for the House of Representatives in the 1990s was supposed to lead to elections fought over policy issues. How well has that worked out? And we have had a number of booms in the popularity of particular politicians and political movements, such as the Socialist “Madonna” Doi Takako in the late 1980s and Hosokawa Morihiro (prime minister 1993–94) and his Japan New Party in the early 1990s, along with the enthusiastically welcomed change of ruling parties in 2009. The repeated waves of political excitement have been followed by reforms of a number of political arrangements and systems. But have these left us with a sense of improvement in Japanese politics?

Hashimoto Tōru is indisputably a figure of rare talent. But we must learn the lessons of history. We must scrutinize his day-to-day pronouncements, check the policy decisions he issues one after another, and follow up on the results. We must do this dispassionately and patiently. That is our responsibility as members of the media that gave birth to this “monster” leader of today.

(Originally written in Japanese. Title background photograph courtesy of Jiji.)

    Profile Iwaisako Hiroshi   Journalist for the daily Yomiuri Shimbun. Born in 1971. Joined the Yomiuri organization after completing graduate studies at Kyoto University. Osaka city news reporter since 2002, responsible mainly for coverage of politics and public administration. Has followed Hashimoto Tōru since just before the 2007 Osaka gubernatorial election.

    [2012.07.24]
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    10 septembre 2012 1 10 /09 /septembre /2012 04:09

    Toru Hashimoto est à la recherche d’appuis nationaux pour son mouvement politique et il a décidé d’aller les chercher à droite. Il vient notamment d’affirmer qu’il n’existait pas de preuve que des prostituées ont été engagées par force par des soldats ou fonctionnaires japonais pendant la seconde guerre mondiale pour travailler dans des bordels militaires.

     

    Tessa Morris-Suzuki apporte tous les éléments de réponse dans son article "Out With Human Rights, In With Government-Authored History: The Comfort Women and the Hashimoto Prescription for a ‘New Japan,’" The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10, Issue 36, No. 1, September 3, 2012.  

     

     

    Personnellement, je suis surpris que personne, à ma connaissance, ne fasse le lien entre ces déclarations récentes de Toru Hashimoto et son utilisation déclarée des services sexuels d’une hôtesse.

     

    La décence devrait lui interdire de s’étendre sur certains sujets.

     

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    5 septembre 2012 3 05 /09 /septembre /2012 02:45

    Merci Nikkei.com 4/9/2012

    http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20120904D04JF119.htm

     

    Osaka Pref, City Govts Call For Halt To 2 Oi Plant Reactors

    OSAKA (Kyodo)--The Osaka prefectural and municipal governments on Tuesday called for a halt to the operation of two reactors at the Oi power plant in Fukui Prefecture ahead of the end Friday of this summer's more than two-month power-saving period.

    The two local governments filed the call with the central government and plant operator Kansai Electric Power Co.

    Kansai Electric, Japan's second-largest power utility based in Osaka, restarted the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the four-reactor Oi plant in July, which became the first among the country's 50 commercial reactors to be reactivated in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

    In a joint statement adopted at their meeting on energy earlier in the day, the two local governments said the two reactors should be shut down, noting the demand-supply situation for electric power is not so tight and that many Japanese nationals now want a nuclear-free Japan.

    In the statement, the Osaka prefectural and municipal governments criticized the central government for resuming the operation of the reactors in the absence of long-range energy policies or sufficient safety measures.

    The decision to restart the Oi reactors does not respect people's wish for a nuclear-free Japan, it said.

    The statement also said the central government has failed to satisfy the local governments' call for utilities to conclude safety agreements with authorities of local entities located within 100 kilometers of a nuclear power plant before restarting reactors.

    In April, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, who heads a local political group called Osaka Ishin no Kai (Osaka restoration association), filed the request with Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura. Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui serves as secretary general of the local group.

    Earlier this year, the central government asked the nation to save power this summer by up to 15 percent from the summer of 2010 due to a complete halt to commercial reactors.

    But it eased power-saving targets as the full-capacity operation of the two reactors of the Oi plant alleviated electricity shortages.

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    31 août 2012 5 31 /08 /août /2012 15:22

    Toru Hashimoto rencontre parfois des opposants très vocaux, qui ne comprennent pas qu’il fasse passer son désir de devenir un homme politique au niveau national avant leur santé et leurs préoccupations.

     

    Je recopie la traduction anglaise d’un article du Mainichi depuis le blog EXSKF :

     

     

    On peut lire la traduction en français de cette traduction anglaise sur le Bistro Bar Blog.

     

    From Mainichi Shinbun (8/31/2012):

    大阪市は30日、東日本大震災で発生した災害廃棄物(がれき)の受け入れに関して、市中央公会堂(同市北区)で市民向けの説明会を開いた。反対する市民らの怒号で会場が騒然とする中、橋下徹市長が安全性を強調し、受け入れへの理解を求めた。

    Osaka City held a townhall meeting for the city's residents on August 30 at the central city hall (in Kita-ku, Osaka) to explain about the acceptance of disaster debris from the March 11, 2011 disaster. In the contentious meeting with angry residents opposing the plan shouting, Mayor Toru Hashimoto emphasized the safety and asked for understanding.

    市は6〜7月、がれきを埋め立てる此花区で区民限定の説明会を3回開いたが、全市民対象は初めて。約420人が出席した。

    The city held three meetings in June and July only for residents in Konohana-ku, where the disaster debris will be [burned and] buried. But the August 30 meeting was the first for all residents in the city. About 420 residents attended the meeting.

    市の担当者らが「日常で浴びる放射線量より低い」と強調したが、会場の内外で反対派の市民らが「放射能はいらない」「橋下やめろ」などと叫び、緊迫した雰 囲気に包まれた。橋下市長はいらだちを隠せない様子で「皆さんの意見で市の方針を決めるのではない」「あなたたちの何倍もの市民が賛成している」などと述 べた。数人の男性が壇上に詰め寄り、警察官らに制止される場面もあった。

    In the meeting, city officials emphasized that the radiation exposure [from burning disaster debris] would be lower than that of background radiation exposure, but people opposing the acceptance of the debris inside and outside the hall shouted "We don't want radiation", "Hashimoto, resign", in a tense exchange. Mayor Hashimoto, unable to hide his irritation, said, "The city policy is not decided by your opinions", "Citizens several times more than you here are in favor". At one point, several men rushed toward the mayor on the podium, and were stopped by the policemen.

    同市中央区の主婦(59)は「納得できる説明はなかった。結論ありきで、なぜ説明会を開いたか分からない」と興奮気味に話した。

    A housewife (age 59) from Chuo-ku in Osaka City said excitedly, "They didn't explain to my satisfaction. It's a foregone conclusion, and I don't know why they bothered to hold a meeting."

    市は11月に試験焼却し、来年2月に岩手県から受け入れを始める計画。今年度は約6100トン、来年度は約3万トンを処理する予定。

    The city plans to conduct the test burn in November, and start accepting the debris from Iwate Prefecture in February next year. In the current fiscal year [that ends in March 31, 2013], about 6,100 tonnes will be disposed [burned and buried], and 30,000 tonnes will be disposed in the fiscal 2013.

     

    I hear from Osaka City residents that umbrellas and bottled water were banned from the meeting.

    Mayor Hashimoto scurried off from the stage after the incident, according to the media reports. Osaka residents on Twitter say they are not surprised at the mayor's behavior.

    The prefectural government in Iwate freely admits that they can totally take care of the debris within Iwate, but since Osaka City insists, they cannot say no. I don't quite understand why not.

    Konohana-ku has a landfill that features a huge incineration plant designed by a famous Austrian anti-nuclear architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. If he were alive, I wonder what he would think; whether he'd be happy with the prospect of disaster debris that has been contaminated with radioactive materials out of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant being burned at the plant he designed.

    I still remember the angry residents of Kyoto City in front of the JR Kyoto Station, shouting down Goshi Hosono, "Go back! Go Back to where you belong!", when Mr. Hosono and his entourage tried to convince what a wonderful thing it would be to help Tohoku people if only Kyoto residents allowed the burning of the debris in their midst.

    I hope Osaka people will outdo the Kyoto residents.

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