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31 août 2012 5 31 /08 /août /2012 02:29



La tour Abeno Harukas est devenue le plus gaut gratte-ciel du Japon jeudi. Elle devrait être ouverte au public au printemps 2014.



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24 août 2012 5 24 /08 /août /2012 18:19

Osaka mayor Hashimoto calls classic Japanese play 'unsatisfactory'

OSAKA -- Osaka  Mayor Toru Hashimoto, who recently declared he would freeze subsidies to an association for Bunraku, a centuries-old form of puppet theater, expressed his dissatisfaction with a Bunraku show he saw on July 26, describing the performance as "unsatisfactory."

"I understood that this is an art that should be preserved as a classic (art form), but the last scene was plain, and lacked something," Hashimoto told reporters after watching "Sonezaki Shinju" (The love suicides at Sonezaki), a classic play based on the work of renowned 17th-18th century dramatist Chikamatsu Monzaemon, at the National Bunraku Theatre in Osaka's Chuo Ward on the evening of July 26.

"The staging was unsatisfactory," the mayor added in his comment on the play, which has not been changed since it was reintroduced to the public in 1955. "Does it really have to follow the old script that precisely?"

This is the second time Hashimoto has expressed his dissatisfaction with Bunraku, the first being during his term as Osaka Governor in 2009, when he publicly said he would "never again go to see" a performance.

"For people to truly appreciate a traditional art, they should be able to enjoy it. In a world with taboos, it's difficult for people to express their honest opinions," he said. Hashimoto then suggested that to attract more fans to the art form, its scripts and performances, among other things, should be modernized.

The Osaka Municipal Government recently decided to cut subsidies to the Bunraku  Kyokai, an association that promotes Bunraku, to 39 million yen this fiscal year, about 25 percent less than what the city allocated to the association in fiscal 2011.

Hashimoto further said that unless performers agree to having public interviews, the Osaka Municipal Government would not provide further subsidies. The association continues to insist that the interviews should be held privately.

On July 26, after watching the play, Hashimoto visited the performers backstage and held brief talks with them privately, and reportedly again demanded that interviews should be held publicly.

"I believe that the fact that we met under these circumstances is a step forward," said Tozo Tsuruzawa, one of the artists Hashimoto met with. "There are many who are fond of the current way Sonezaki Shinju is performed, and I don't think it is a matter of which is better anyway. Mr. Hashimoto says that if we create something interesting, people will come to watch, but I wonder if that's the right approach to take."

July 27, 2012(Mainichi Japan)


毎日新聞 20120726日 2217分(最終更新 0727日 1320分)


 橋下市長 大阪府知事だった09年に初めて鑑賞した際、「二度と見にいかない」と酷評。この日は「国民に伝統芸能と感じてもらうためには楽しんでもらわないといけな い。タブーのある世界は率直な意見が出にくい」と指摘し、ファン開拓のため脚本や演出を現代風にアレンジするなどの工夫を求めた。




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24 août 2012 5 24 /08 /août /2012 03:21

Le révisionisme japonais à l’oeuvre; Toru Hashimoto a besoin de voix et de supports pour que son parti prenne une envergure nationale, et il a décidé de racoler à droite, auprès de gens comme Shinzo Abe (Premier Ministre de la diarrhée, mais très efficace héraut du conservatisme qui a réussi en quelques mois de gouvernement à durablement orienter l’éducation officielle japonaise vers la droite) et Shintaro Ishihara, le gouverneur-maire raciste de Tokyo, la honte du Japon.

            En ce qui concerne Hashimoto, à part son dégoût du syndicalisme, je ne sais pas si ce virage à droite et son appréciation de l’histoire sont sincères ou non, ni même si cela a vraiment de l’importance à ses yeux. Il n’est pas connu pour son intérêt pour la culture ou la littérature (il a fortement réduit les subsides pour le théâtre de marionnettes bunraku) et son attitude récente vis-à-vis de l’industrie nucléaire montre que son opportunisme a plus d’importance que ses principes.



  • August 22, 2012, 8:17 PM JST

Osaka Mayor Pitches Gallery of Controversial History

ByYoree Koh


Outspoken Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, known for his unorthodox style and views, wants to build a facility where Japan’s history — in all its varying versions — can be put on display. A historical gallery of Japan’s diplomatic headaches, if you will.



The popular politician envisions the facility to focus on Japan’s post-war history. Thus, if the mayor gets his way, the country’s various territorial spats and controversial accounts of wartime atrocities like the so-called “comfort women” — historical cold sores that have strained regional relations in recent weeks — can be expected to be among the banner exhibits. The mayor himself stoked Japan’s diplomatic flames with South Korea on Tuesday with controversial comments asking the neighboring country to provide proof to back up its claims that Japan’s military enslaved Korean women during its colonial rule at the beginning of the 20th century.

Mr. Hashimoto thinks Japan’s younger generations’ understanding of modern Japanese history is shallow. History lessons have been insufficient in laying out the country’s wartime positions and the regional consequences that followed.

“There are history textbooks that cover the post-war period, but there aren’t really classes that make (the students) feel like they’ve learned the subject. As the mayor has said it’s come to a point where the subject is barely studied for university entrance exams,” said an Osaka city hall official who oversees municipal policy.

History is a contentious matter in East Asia. So many versions, so little consensus, so much heat. Even as Japan has become closer with both China and South Korea on economic and cultural fronts, unresolved tensions stemming from Japan’s handling of the countries’ historic and territorial grievances remain recurring flashpoints. The last two weeks alone have been a diplomatic tap dance for Japan, trading protests with its neighbors after groups from each country made controversial landings on the pair of contested island clusters.

The competing claims are rooted in different historical interpretations: who planted the flag first or how its territorial status changed after World War II. The Osaka mayor’s proposed gallery would likely include the stories behind each country’s claims side-by-side, according to the city official. It will offer a multi-faceted explainer of sorts when it comes to issues some might consider factually grey.

The same would go for other hot button issues like Korean “comfort women,” who said they had been held as sexual slaves by the Japanese military in the 1930s and 1940s. The subject is fraught with conflicting accounts from the number of women enslaved to whether it happened at all. Mr. Hashimoto pushed the latter line on Tuesday. Echoing similar comments by Japanese politicians in the past, Mr. Hashimoto challenged the South Korean government to offer proof that the women were forcibly taken by the Japanese military through “violence or intimidation.” South Korea and China have criticized Japan for printing watered down versions of its wartime aggression in its textbooks and for statements by politicians and nationalists denying the events took place.

But breaking ground is still several years and billions of yen away. A project team, established on Aug. 1, is still in the preliminary stages. Having just started examining what exhibits are possible the end result could look very different from Mr. Hashimoto’s vision.

Mr. Hashimoto, who first raised the idea in late May, aims to have a firm plan in place within the next two years, but comparable projects usually take closer to a decade or two. Then there is the issue of cost and space. The mayor has proposed using a little over three acres of public land and earmark part of next year’s budget for the project. But city officials have questioned whether building such a facility, expected to cost tens of billions of yen, is the wisest use of public funds in the face of more pressing needs.


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19 août 2012 7 19 /08 /août /2012 17:00




Source: http://openwaterpedia.com/index.php?title=Pool_Dotonbori


Pour le 400e anniversaire du Canal Dotonbori

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19 août 2012 7 19 /08 /août /2012 03:43

Bureaucrats attend Hashimoto school despite local ban


OSAKA — About 20 central and local government officials have attended the political school established by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto.

So far, about 880 participants have attended events at Ishin Seiji Juku (Political Restoration School), including officials from the Finance Ministry, the land ministry and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, sources said.

Municipal officials from outside Osaka also have attended the school's lectures and discussion sessions with academics and other guests, they added.

Critics are accusing Hashimoto of having a double standard for curbing the political activities of Osaka employees while allowing other public servants to take part in Ishin Seiji Juku.

In July, Osaka's municipal assembly passed an ordinance submitted by Hashimoto that in principle allows the mayor to take disciplinary action against municipal workers if they engage in any political activities.

Hashimoto's Osaka Ishin no Kai (One Osaka) party launched the political school to groom future leaders able to reform traditional bureaucratic structures. Some of those trained at the facility are scheduled to take to the streets and deliver stump speeches in mid-September.

The Japan Times: Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012
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10 août 2012 5 10 /08 /août /2012 13:18

Lower house passes bill for establishment of special wards

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's House of Representatives on Friday passed a bill that is aimed at enabling special wards similar to Tokyo's 23 wards to be established in other prefectures. Members of ruling and major opposition parties voted for the bill in the lower house's plenary session. Deliberations at the House of Councillors, or the upper house, are expected to start in late August, but it is not clear whether the Diet will enact the law during the current regular session lasting through Sept. 8. In July, political parties agreed to unify their bills in response to Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto's proposal to reorganize the cities of Osaka and Sakai into special wards and transfer some of their functions better fitted to wider-area administration, such as infrastructure development, to the so-called Osaka metropolis in a structure similar to Tokyo's, so as to remove administrative overlap. The bill covers areas with a population of more than 2 million, including a designated city with a population of more than 700,000, and requires governors and mayors to work out plans to rezone administrative districts. Under the bill, special wards can be established in 10 cities -- Sapporo, Saitama, Chiba, Yokohama, Kawasaki, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Sakai and Kobe. Of the 10, Chiba's population stands at about 970,000, and Sakai's at about 840,000. Eight others have populations of more than 1 million. Osaka's population stands at about 2.67 million. Under the bill, those areas can abolish existing cities, towns or villages and establish special wards similar to those in Tokyo. Tokyo's 23 ward offices are less independent than cities, with the Tokyo metropolitan government exercising authority over such fields as water supply and sewage systems, firefighting and some local taxes in the 23 wards. Osaka Mayor Hashimoto plans to abolish the city of Osaka and establish special wards similar to Tokyo's in 2015.

August 10, 2012(Mainichi Japan)


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7 août 2012 2 07 /08 /août /2012 06:53



8/07/2012 @ 12:14AM |11 views

Osaka Mayor Hashimoto's "Eight Measures for Restoration"

I begin with a caveat.  Word is out that the manifesto below is soon to be revised again.  As the Osaka Ishin no Kai (大阪維新の会) movement headed by Osaka mayor Hashimoto Toru (pictured)  gets  closer to launching a campaign to become a major new national party and to capture a significant number of Diet seats in the next general election, it seems to be moderating some of the more radical ideas presented below.  We don’t know yet, but abolishing the Diet Upper House and directly electing the Prime Minister will probably be changed.  Nevertheless, we can expect the main themes and goals of movement—admittedly often vague and bromidic–to remain.

Eight Measures for Restoration (維新八策) of the Osaka Ishin no Kai (大阪維新の会) published as revised on July 5, 2010.  Manifesto for the Next General Election.


Toward a “Great Reset” of Japan’s existing social system—reconstructing the framework from a pay-out model social contract to a reform model social contract.

that Recognizing differences in personal values, to achieve a society of:

  • Self-reliant and independent individuals;
  • Self-reliant and independent regions;
  • A self-reliant and independent nation;


  • Democracy that can make decisions and take responsibility; with
  • Governing institutions that can make decisions and take responsibility

1.  Governing Institutions Reform


  • Change from a centralized power state model to a regionalized power state model
  • Let the localities manage domestic government affairs
  • The national state should finance its exclusive functions through its own mechanisms; the localities should have exclusive financing resources and mechanisms for their exclusive functions.


  • Direct, popular election of the Prime Minister
  • Strengthening the Diet Lower House (House of Representatives) with a view to abolishing the Diet Upper House (House of Councillors)
  • Study constituting a new Upper House with prefectural governors serving concurrently
  • Make the national consumption tax a local tax collected and to be used local

2.  Financial and Administrative Reforms


  • Simplify and raise effectiveness of the parliamentary system and governmental institutions
  • Run the Diet session such that the Prime Minister can spend 100 days a year abroad
  • Create a sustainable, small government


  • Fundamentally reform the current Osaka prefecture/city fiscal system
  • Set targets for  bringing the (national) primary fiscal balance into surplus
  • Reduce the number of Diet members and cut expenditures

3.  Civil Service System Reform

  • Extend nationwide the civil service reforms implemented in Osaka prefecture and Osaka city (bonuses for performance; salary based on ability, actual performance, and position)
  • Abolish the National Personnel Authority system
  • Abolish guaranteed, lifetime employment in civil service
  • Thoroughly revise the civil service exam
  • Comprehensive investigation of civil service labor union elections

4.  Education System Reform


  • Nurture self-reliant individuals who can support a self-reliant nation and self-reliant localities
  • Change from the “pyramidal” model of education with the Ministry of Science and Education at the top, to a locally administered education model


  • Allow localities to choose their education system
  • Reform of the university entrance exam system
  • Institute a voucher system at all levels, including universities, to promote competition among institutions
  • Remove the “civil servant” status of teachers at public schools
  • Provide financial assistance for foreign study

5.  Reform of the Social Security System


  • Fully support the truly weak and needy
  • Introduce a negative income tax and basic income concept
  •  “Voucherize” the system to change from funding providers, to directly funding beneficiaries
  • Deregulate to increase competition among service providers


  • Introduce a system of building trust funds to support a high dependency-ratio society
  • Calculate both assets and income in providing minimum living support:  restrict payments to persons with both income and assets
  • For pension funding, convert over time from the current “pay as you go” lax levy system, to a system of trust fund accumulation (including serving and repayment of debt liabilities)
  • Establish a reverse mortgage market and a system of settling transfer profit taxes at death

6.  Economic Policy, Employment Policy, Tax Policy


  • Economic policies that will strengthen competitiveness
  • Competition between the national state, prefectures, and cities
  • Expand free trade areas
  • Thoroughly reform regulations to promote innovation
  • Join the Trans Pacific Partnership trade pact; expand free trade agreements


  • Don’t use tax money to create unnecessary employment
  • Expand domestic service employment
  • Rectify the compensation gap between regular and contract employment
  • Tax not just income, but assets to adjust to low birth rate, aging society
  • Implement a “flat tax” reform

7.  Foreign Policy and Defense


  • Prepare to self-reliantly defend Japan’s sovereignty and territory
  • With the Japan-U.S. alliance a foundation, strengthen relations with countries that protect freedom and democracy
  • Secure the resources needed for Japan’s survival through international cooperation


  • Increase participation in international peace activities like U.N. peace keeping operations
  • Strengthen relations with Australia and the Republic of Korea
  • Strengthen mutually beneficial strategic relations with China and Russia premised on equality, mutual benefit, and the rule of law
  • Advance negotiations with Russia on the Northern Territories
  • Arrest the decline in official development assistance; shift to an active foreign aid policy

8.  Amending the Japanese Constitution

  • Popular election of the Prime Minister
  • Strengthen the Diet Lower House (House of Representatives) and allow for the abolition of the Upper House
  • Putting the question of revising Article 9 (renouncing the right to wage war) to a popular vote
  • Enable localities to overwrite national laws


Stephen Harner, Contributor

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2 août 2012 4 02 /08 /août /2012 01:33

Osaka Mayor Hashimoto's Dramatic Reform Agenda Moves Forward in the Diet


Whither Japan has not before posted thoughts on Osaka mayor Hashimoto Tooru and his variously translated (or untranslated) “Osaka One” Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka during a... Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka during a visit to the White House in 1973 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (Osaka Ishin no Kai) reformist movement, except to note that last month he lauded PM Noda Yoshihiko as a “man who gets decisions.” Recent events confirm that Hashimoto and, perhaps more importantly, his movement are likely to bring big—perhaps epochal— and needed changes in Japan’s political economy. This week the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) joined with five lesser parties to begin drafting legislation to realize Hashimoto’s vision of Osaka on the same administrative level (to, 都, translated as “metropolitan prefecture” or metropolis) as Tokyo and with the same autonomy. The goal is to pass the bill in the lower Diet chamber this month, and passage into law by both Diet chambers is a possibility. Importantly, the concept being promoted is not only to elevate the status and autonomy of Osaka, but of all municipalities with populations over two million, of which there are some ten immediate candidates, including Yokohama, Sapporo, and Nagoya. It is an iron rule of political economy that centralization stifles initiative and innovation (witness Obamacare in the U.S.), and decentralization nurtures initiative and innovation. Decentralization and local autonomy is the administrative equivalent and agency of free (or freer) markets and is pro-competitive, while centralization is the equivalent and agency of restrictively regulated (unfree) markets and is anti-competitive. Ever since the premiership of Tanaka Kakuei (1972-74) who instituted a Napoleanic all-Japan administrative structure and centralizing ethos, Japan’s regions have been increasingly dispirited and debilitated by arrogation of authority by central government bureaucracies and the extension of these bureaucracies to local levels. A habit of looking for permission, and money, from Tokyo is the norm in Japan’s regions, and is responsible for stifling innovation and growth. The huge financial and societal opportunity costs of this system have long been apparent—and have been seen is stark relief in the barriers that have stood in the way of rapid recovery and reconstruction of the Tohoku earthquake/tsunami disaster areas; but vested interests as always have resisted change. Hashimoto and his Osaka One movement are demanding a “reset” of this system. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun—which tends to straddle reformist, free market advocacy and big business, vested interests conservatism in matters like this– calls out in an August 1 editorial for clarification of the many issues that remain vaguely understood about Hashimoto’s Osaka to concept. The concept includes enacting new legislation permitting the newly to be elevated metropolises to establish “special districts” as Tokyo does now. To make administrative devolution viable, it must be accompanied by revenue sources, which means changes to Japan national and local tax systems: not something to expect or necessarily want during the next month. The Nikkei notes that the proposal now before a Diet committee no longer uses the term “to” for the new metropolitan designations, and is no longer only about Osaka. Also, it is pointed out that the general public is still vague about what Hashimoto’s concept really entails. Notwithstanding these questions and reservations, it is surely a sign of progress that the reform agenda of the Osaka One movement is now being advanced. Japan desperately needs deregulation and locally incentivizing reforms in government administration at all levels. In the next post I will present key points of the truly fascinating “Eight Policy Restoration” (維新八策) reform manifesto of Hashimoto’s movement, published on July 5. Also, a bit of bio on Hashimoto Tooru himself who breaks the mold for Japanese politicians.


This article is available online at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stephenharner/2012/08/01/osaka-mayor-hashimotos-dramatic-reform-agenda-moves-forward-in-the-diet/

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31 juillet 2012 2 31 /07 /juillet /2012 03:01

Civil servants sue Osaka over political activity survey


OSAKA — Fifty-five former and current Osaka Municipal Government bureaucrats jointly sued the city Monday for ¥18.15 million, alleging that a questionnaire they were ordered to fill out on their political and labor union activities caused them mental distress.

In the lawsuit filed with the Osaka District Court, the workers claimed that the February survey, initiated by Mayor Toru Hashimoto, infringed on their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of thought and conscience by ordering them to reveal their private opinions.

Hashimoto said employees might be punished if they fill out the questionnaire properly, the plaintiffs said.

A female nursery teacher in her 50s who joined the suit said she felt invaded.

"Just taking a quick look at the questionnaire caused me psychological pain," she said at a press conference in Osaka. "I thought (the city government) was interfering with my way of life."

In April, members of the Osaka city workers' union filed a similar lawsuit over the same questionnaire against the city and lawyer Shuya Nomura, who was responsible for the survey as a special municipal adviser.

Nomura discarded the civil servants' responses without opening them in April as public criticism grew that the survey violated their right to freedom of thought and conscience.

The Japan Times: Tuesday, July 31, 2012
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31 juillet 2012 2 31 /07 /juillet /2012 02:59

Bill to transform Osaka government jointly submitted to Diet


Ruling and opposition parties on Monday jointly submitted a bill that would allow reform-minded Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto to achieve his goal of creating a metropolitan Osaka government structured on Tokyo.

The bill, a response to the brash political initiative proposed by the up and coming Hashimoto — now a popular choice for prime minister — is expected to be passed in August, lawmakers said.

To remove administrative redundancy and reduce wasteful government spending, Hashimoto has proposed reorganizing the cities of Osaka and Sakai into special wards and transferring some of their duties, especially those better suited to wider-area management, like infrastructure development, to a reformed municipality that he wants to call the Osaka Metropolitan Government.

The bill's passage also would allow special wards that are less independent than cities to be established in prefectures other than Tokyo.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's Democratic Party of Japan, the opposition-leading Liberal Democratic Party and other parties cooperated on the bill in an apparent concession to the young mayor, who has captured the nation's attention with his efforts to challenge the status quo as the major parties engage in tit-for-tat battles in the midst of Japan's worst calamity since the war.

Reflecting the threat he poses ahead of the next general election, seven ruling and opposition parties jointly submitted the bill to the Lower House.

Cities and towns with populations of over 2 million would be subject to the bill. If the legislation is enacted, Osaka and nine other cities across the country would be able to establish special wards after gaining consent from local assemblies and residents in plebiscites, the lawmakers said.

The legislation, however, would not allow any of the areas to adopt the designation "metropolitan government" as sought by Hashimoto, they said, leaving Tokyo clearly at the top of the administrative and linguistic heap.

The Japan Times: Tuesday, July 31, 2012
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