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23 février 2012 4 23 /02 /février /2012 07:52

L’information la plus complète que jaie jamais lue en anglais sur Toru Hashimoto, ancien préfet et dorénavant maire d’Osaka, est sur le blog ONTD : The Hashist (or, a quick primer on Toru Hashimoto)

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2 novembre 2011 3 02 /11 /novembre /2011 16:02

A l’approche des élections à Osaka, j’ai participé à la création de l’article Wikipédia consacré à Toru Hashimoto. N’hésitez pas à contribuer et l’améliorer.

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22 octobre 2011 6 22 /10 /octobre /2011 02:38


Deux articles intéressants dans le Japan Times d’aujourd’hui:

-     E. Johnston, Hashimoto, Osaka face watershed poll


-     E. Johnston, Hashimoto signals double Osaka polls


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21 octobre 2011 5 21 /10 /octobre /2011 15:46

Thatcherism cited as way to go in bold proposal by Osaka to reform education system

BY RYUICHI KANARI STAFF WRITER

2011/10/20


OSAKA -- A controversial proposal to wrestle control of education from the education ministry was recently submitted to the Osaka prefectural assembly.

 

It was submitted by Osaka Ishin no Kai (Osaka restoration group), which is headed by Osaka's reformist Governor Toru Hashimoto.

 

Hashimoto says the prefectural government, not bureaucrats in Tokyo, should have the final say in education matters.

Under the proposed ordinance, the governor would have the authority to dismiss members of the prefectural board of education who don't produce results. Other personnel decisions would also be made on that basis.

If adopted, it would represent a major shift in postwar education policy and could spread across the nation. At the same time, the proposed ordinance has drawn criticism from education experts who say it could lead to more political intervention in the nation's classrooms.

Yoshikazu Sakai, 66, a former judge who now serves in the Osaka prefectural assembly, was involved in drafting the proposed ordinance. He was asked what the ordinance sought to bring to the education sector.

 

Excerpts of the interview follow:

 

* * *

 

Question: Because politics and education went hand in hand until the end of World War II, a new system was introduced to make the education system politically neutral. What was wrong with that system?

 

Sakai: It meant that politics had no role to play in education, and this made it impossible to reflect the opinions of the public. As a result, schools came under the control of education ministry bureaucrats. A case in point was the change to a more lenient curriculum. The responsibility for that failed policy was never made clear. We have to return education to the hands of the public and away from irresponsible bureaucrats.

 

 

Q: The proposal calls for the governor to decide goals in education. Rather than returning education to the public, wouldn't that be in a sense returning education to politicians?

 

A: Politicians garner support in elections. A judgment on how they did rests with voters. We think education should be modeled on the same principle.

 

 

Q: The preamble calls for fostering individuals who can make their way in this new interconnected world. Does that not indicate that the focus is only on elite education?

 

A: People need more than development of character to get through their lives. We will determine the course the world is moving toward amid the rapid changes taking place in the international community and reflect that in the curriculum. A nation with no natural resources such as Japan has to utilize its human resources. But this country has lost its competitiveness through a fostering of individuals in which everyone gets along because of the group mentality that persists.

 

The key for this will center on devolving authority to local governments. Municipalities across a wide area will set out to determine what they want to do based on the responsibility of politicians. Mistakes inevitably will be made. Nevertheless, a better approach will open up and that would be an improvement over wholesale mistakes arising from a reliance on a uniform education.

 

 

Q: What are some of the specific steps that are being planned?

 

A: While the major goals will be decided by the governor, we will give authority to individual schools so they can experiment as well. We will give principals the authority to make personnel decisions as well as the right to make budgetary requests. In exchange, if they fail, they will be forced to resign to take responsibility. Instead of coming under the control of irresponsible bureaucrats, schools will become hives of activity because of the sense of tension that will arise.

 

 

Q: Shouldn't the role of education focus on fostering individuals at all levels, and not just the elite?

 

A: We are hoping to set up multiple streams in education. By recognizing the differences in ability, we could, for example, reduce compulsory education from the current nine years to seven years. This would allow the children to spend the two remaining years doing whatever they want, be it studies, sports or hobbies.

 

We eventually also want to allow children to skip grades. Looking at the history of humanity, outstanding individuals have created new technology and philosophies without being bound by a particular system. Without that, we will not be able to win in international competition.

 

 

Q: What is your view of the strong resistance that has arisen from schools over the brazen competitiveness in the proposal, including a curved evaluation system that would give the lowest appraisal to about 5 percent of teachers?

 

A: We are seeking to impose strict standards because there are bad teachers in every workplace and they have made their students unhappy. There is no need to listen to the excuses of civil servants who do not want to make the effort. If the figures are low, the only thing to do is make the effort to raise the figures.

 

 

Q: While you have said schools would be allowed to undertake trial-and-error efforts, what will happen to the children who become entangled in the mistakes?

 

A: That is why we want to establish an environment that will allow for the free selection of schools. We will abolish the school district system, introduce a school selection system and release the results of achievement tests by schools. In that way, parents and their children can use that information to choose the school they want their offspring to attend. Because they are making the choice, they will have to assume responsibility for the result of that decision. They will not be able to only make complaints.

 

 

Q: What is your ideal educational model?

 

A: The reforms by (former British Prime Minister) Margaret Thatcher. She resuscitated Britain by introducing a performance-based system for evaluating teachers and releasing the results of achievement tests. Competition will lead to progress.

 

From Silicon Valley, which attracts people from around the world, I learned that an individual with outstanding ability in one area will succeed while average people will not.

 

Japan also needs a place like that.

 

 

Q: The British reforms are also said to have led to greater disparity. In the United States, unemployed young people are protesting Wall Street's corporate greed. What do you think about this?

 

A: I believe it is alright to create disparity. There are other systems to correct disparities, such as the taxation system and social welfare. There is a need to foster outstanding individuals even if that means accepting disparities.

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30 septembre 2011 5 30 /09 /septembre /2011 04:30


Voici un extrait d’un article du Daily Yomiuri d’aujourd’hui :


TELEVIEWS / Wake up to Osaka Pref. again with morning serial 'Carnation'

Wm. Penn / Daily Yomiuri Columnist


It's time to pack our bags and head back to Osaka Prefecture.

(…) NHK morning serial fans will spend the autumn/winter season in Kishiwada, Osaka Prefecture. The city, home of the famed Danjiri Matsuri festival, will serve as the setting for the new series Carnation (starting Monday, weekdays, 8 a.m.-8:15 a.m., repeated at 12:45 p.m. on NHK-G and aired at 7:30 a.m. on BS Premium).

It's surprising that the morning serial is returning to the prefecture so soon. Viewers were just there six months ago vicariously nibbling okonomiyaki pancakes in the Teppan restaurant; but, this time, it is fashion that's on the menu. Machiko Ono plays Itoko Ohara. The character is based on the life of fashion designer Ayako Koshino, whose three daughters--Junko, Hiroko and Michiko--all went on to create their own fashion lines and compete on a worldwide stage.

Carnation traces the roots of the family's dynamism and their mother's struggle to establish a career and raise her children after her husband dies in World War II.

The story opens in 1924. Itoko, the young daughter of a tailor, is fascinated by the exciting and sometimes deadly Danjiri Matsuri. Held each autumn, the festival features a parade of huge wooden shrine floats. They each weigh several tons, but that does not dampen the enthusiasm of the participants who push and pull them through the city streets. They maneuver the floats through an obstacle course of narrow roadways, sharp corners and overhanging power lines while a few fearless fellows dance atop the floats.

Itoko bemoans that as a woman she is not allowed to participate in the festival and is determined to fight back by pursuing a career in a field that allows her freedom and is not dominated by men. She adopts the sewing machine as her means of liberation. By age 20, she has already established her own dress shop.

A successful morning serial is always a boon to the local economy. The 2010 "asadora" hit Gegege no Nyobo did wonders for Shigeru Mizuki's hometown Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture. Kishiwada is already poised to take advantage of the potential Carnation boom. Their Web page (www.city.kishiwada.osaka.jp/site/carnation) features a growing list of souvenir products--everything from Koshino cookies and Danjiri Matsuri flutes to local pickles and Japanese sweets, shaped like Danjiri floats, of course. The site also features a detailed tourist map marking spots associated with the drama and the Koshino family.

(…)

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27 septembre 2011 2 27 /09 /septembre /2011 09:44


Voici un éditorial du Yomiuri Shimbun du 25 septembre 2011 :


大阪教育条例案 教委の役割を問い直す議論を(925日付・読売社説) 

 教育行政への問題提起として、首長と教育委員会の役割を徹底議論することは意義があろう。 

 大阪府の橋下徹知事を代表とする地域政党・大阪維新の会が、教育基本条例案と職員基本条例案を府議会に提出した。 

 二つの条例案は、知事の教育行政への関与を強め、教員を含めた府職員に対する信賞必罰の姿勢を前面に打ち出している。

 具体的には、知事が府立高などの教育目標を定める。その目標を実現する責務を果たさない府教育委員は、知事が議会の同意を得て罷免できる、としている。

 大阪府に限らず、教育委員会は首長から独立した合議制機関と位置づけられている。月1~2回の会議しか開いていないところが多く、形骸化を指摘する声もある。維新の会は「現行では民意を十分に反映できない」と説明する。

 ただ、教育行政には、特定の党派からの中立性と、安定性・継続性が欠かせない。知事が代わるたびに府の教育目標が大きく変わることになれば、教育現場が混乱する恐れもある。

 両条例案には、教員を含む府職員の処分基準を定めた公務員制度改革策も盛り込まれた。

 毎年の人事評価を5段階の相対評価に見直し、例えば、2年連続で最低ランク(全体の5%)とされた職員は、適格性を欠く場合に適用される分限処分の検討対象となる。組織改編による余剰人員は分限免職できるようにした。

 橋下知事は「公務員は安泰という価値観を転換する」と主張する。その方向性は理解できるが、相対評価や組織再編による分限処分には、公務員の身分保障の観点などから現場に強い反発もある。慎重に議論を進めるべきだろう。

 条例案は、国歌斉唱時の不起立など同一の職務命令に3回違反した職員を原則、分限免職にするとした。たびたび訴訟に発展する問題だけに丁寧な審議が必要だ。

 部長級職員や正副校長を、公募により任期付きで採用する規定もあるが、身分保障のないポストに有為な人材が集まるだろうか。

 維新の会は、府議会で過半数を占めている。大阪市議会にも同様の条例案を提出し、11月に想定される府知事、大阪市長のダブル選で争点の一つにするという。

 学校現場への影響を考えると、十分な議論なしに採決することは避けるべきだ。「子どもたちの適切な教育を受ける権利に責任を負う」という目的と相反する部分は柔軟に見直してもらいたい。

20119250109  読売新聞)

 

Et la traduction anglaise:


Don't rush to revamp local educational

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Recent moves by a local party led by Osaka Gov. Toru Hashimoto have raised important questions over the proper relationship between local school boards and the heads of local governments. This occasion presents a meaningful opportunity to thoroughly discuss their respective roles in local education.

Osaka Ishin no Kai (Osaka restoration group) has submitted two bills to the Osaka prefectural assembly: One concerns a fundamental ordinance on education and the other concerns a fundamental ordinance on prefectural government employees.

The bills emphasize increasing the governor's involvement in the prefecture's educational administration and applying the principle of "work and you will be rewarded" to prefectural government employees, including school teachers.

To be specific, the Osaka governor would have the power to set the educational goals of prefectural high schools and others. According to the bill, the governor would be able to dismiss members of the prefectural board of education who fail to work toward the goals after obtaining approval from the prefectural assembly.

A local board of education is considered a collegial institution independent from the head of the local government. But many institutions hold meetings only once or twice a month. Critics say the meetings have turned into a mere formality. Osaka Ishin no Kai says that under the current system, the prefectural board of education cannot properly reflect the will of Osaka Prefecture residents.

However, it is crucial for the educational administration to remain neutral regarding political parties, while maintaining stability and continuity. If Osaka Prefecture's educational policy changes every time a new governor is sworn in, schools and classrooms may be thrown into confusion.

===

Punishing poor performers

The two bills also include measures to reform the prefectural government's personnel system, such as tougher disciplinary standards for teachers and other government employees.

Under the bills, annual employee performance evaluations will use a five-grade relative assessment system under which employees ranked in the worst grade for two consecutive years will be subject to the same punishments applied to local government officials who are judged substandard in carrying out their duties. The proportion of people who receive each grade is fixed, and about five percent of government officials will be put into the worst grade.

The measure also enables the prefectural government to dismiss workers to deal with overstaffing after administrative reorganization.

Hashimoto says the aim of the bills is to break down the widely held image that public servants' jobs are infinitely guaranteed once they are hired.

Hashimoto's stance is understandable in some sense. However, some prefectural government officials strongly oppose the ideas of relative assessment and dismissal of employees due to administrative reorganization, from the standpoint of guaranteeing the status of public servants. Thorough discussions are needed before implementing such measures.

The bills stipulate that government officials who refuse to comply with an order three times, such as refusing to stand up for the singing of the "Kimigayo" national anthem during ceremonies, will be subject to dismissal, in principle. However, since the issue of refusing to stand for the anthem has been a frequent subject of litigation, lawmakers in the prefectural assembly should take adequate time to discuss the measure.

===

Private-sector recruitment

The bills allow prefectural schools to recruit principals, vice principals and other officials at levels equivalent to department chiefs in the prefectural government from private companies on fixed-term basis. However, there is a question whether talented people will accept such jobs when their status is not guaranteed.

Osaka Ishin no Kai members hold a majority in the prefectural assembly. They say the party will submit similar bills to the Osaka municipal assembly soon, making the issue of educational administration reform a point of contention during November's simultaneous elections for the governor and mayor of Osaka.

Members of the prefectural and municipal assemblies should refrain from passing the bill without thorough discussion, considering the huge influence of the bills on schools and classrooms. The lawmakers should not forget they are responsible for providing adequate education to children. Measures that may run counter to this purpose should be reviewed with open minds.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 25, 2011)

(Sep. 26, 2011)

 

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25 septembre 2011 7 25 /09 /septembre /2011 04:25


Voici un extrait de l’article de Philip Brasor, Welfare system not faring well, Japan Times 25/9/2011:


The number of welfare recipients nationwide is over 2 million, the highest it's been since the system was launched in 1950, after which it continued to drop steadily until bottoming out in 1996. Central and local governments now give out ¥3.4 trillion in welfare benefits a year, equal to 10 percent of all tax revenues.

The local government with the heaviest burden is Osaka, where 17 percent of the city budget goes to welfare payments.

 

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25 septembre 2011 7 25 /09 /septembre /2011 04:19


Voici un extrait d’un article de Jake Adelstein, Yakuza Goes Hollywood, The Daily Beast 23/9/2011


 

There are many reasons the connections between Japanese show business and organized crime have not been reported or dealt with, but the chief reasons are two: a complaint and cowardly media, and political protection. For the Osaka Police Department, the close ties between Shimada and the current governor posed a problem. Shimada has purchased real estate at very cheap prices in the Osaka area—the police believe that the yakuza helped him in doing this and an investigation is ongoing. After Shimada announced his retirement, Toru Hashimoto, governor of Osaka since 2008 and a close friend of the star, commented at his August 24 regular press briefing, “If it hadn’t been for Shinsuke-san’s television program there’s no way I would have been elected Governor. I’m where I am now thanks to Shinsuke-san. (The whole thing) is very regrettable and painful.”

A retired Osaka PD officer states, “When the head of the government is close friends with the target of an investigation everyone gets hesitant to pursue a case. It’s only natural. I’m not saying he applied political pressure to squelch our investigation, but there are always bureaucrats at the top who don’t want to piss off the person who ultimately decides our funding.”

 

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12 février 2011 6 12 /02 /février /2011 01:42

Voici un bon article du Japan Times sur Hashimoto, le gouverneur de la préfecture d'Osaka.


Long honeymoon over for Hashimoto

 

By ERIC JOHNSTON

 

Staff writer

OSAKA — Three years into his first term, Osaka Gov. Toru Hashimoto continues to enjoy some of the highest ratings of any politician, with media polls showing 70 to 80 percent of the electorate approve of his job performance.


But the outspoken governor's policies have come under increasing attack of late by current and former politicians, academics and others who warn Hashimoto's brand of populism will lead to a form of dictatorship.

Since becoming the youngest governor at age 38, Hashimoto has made headlines locally and nationally with his efforts to reform both Osaka Prefecture and the wider Kansai region. His growing cooperation and ties with local government leaders nationwide, ranging from former Miyazaki Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru to newly re-elected Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura, have also raised eyebrows.

He has also formed his own political party, which now holds a slight majority in the Osaka Prefectural Assembly. In April's local elections, the party aims to capture the municipal assemblies of the prefecture's two largest cities, Osaka and Sakai. In addition, the governor and his party have indicated they might help independent, populist candidates in other prefectures, a suggestion that alarms the established political parties.

Over the past three years, Hashimoto has instituted tough fiscal policies that have helped stem the flow of red ink the prefecture was drowning in, mostly because of failed public-works projects undertaken during the 1990s and a decreasing local tax base. His sharp criticism of both prefectural and central government policies and spending, and his detailed proposals for solving problems have won him many admirers.

"Hashimoto is the first governor we've had in a long time who is unafraid to argue with conventional wisdom and who has shown real political leadership," said Kenichi Takeyama, 46, who campaigned for Hashimoto three years ago.

But the governor has also been embroiled in his fair share of controversies. He continually pushes for the central government to shut down Itami airport, on the border of Osaka and Hyogo prefectures, saying it's the only way to increase flights at Kansai airport, in which Osaka Prefecture has invested heavily. The popular Itami airport, which only handles domestic flights, is about 20 minutes from Osaka Station and much more centrally and conveniently located than its Kansai and Kobe counterparts.

Hashimoto's attempts to close Itami are strongly opposed by Hyogo Gov. Toshizo Ido. The central government, which runs Itami, has been ambiguous on the matter, indicating it might approve of some sort of integration of Itami and Kansai airports, despite their geographic nonproximity, but not committing to a specific plan to shut it down. Media polls show public support in the Kansai region for shutting Itami is lukewarm.

But possibly no other issue has created such heated controversy as Hashimoto's push to merge Osaka and Osaka Prefecture into a single "One Osaka" entity. The plan calls for special semiautonomous zones within the prefecture, with the governor and prefectural assembly enjoying more power. One Osaka is also the name of the governor's party.

"Currently, Osaka Prefecture and the city of Osaka compete with each other for resources and there is a lot of bureaucratic overlap. A single Osaka would reorganize the city into four different specialized zones, and the rest of the prefecture into four or five zones. The head of the zone would be an elected official and would enjoy more authority than the heads of the city wards currently enjoy," Hashimoto said last month when unveiling the plan.

The first step toward this goal, Hashimoto said, is to get the prefectural government and Osaka's towns and assemblies to pass resolutions seeking a new law to establish a single Osaka. The governor hopes the first resolutions will be passed this May, and all municipalities in the prefecture will follow suit within a year.

After that, the plan calls for the Diet to pass a related law, perhaps as early as next year. A prefecturewide plebiscite on the issue would follow, and, if passed, voters would elect new representatives for a single Osaka by spring 2015.

But the plan has met with stiff opposition not only from the bureaucracy in the city of Osaka but also from those inside and out of the prefecture who fear Hashimoto is subverting the democratic process.

Several books written by freelance journalists and local academics have appeared in the past few months, warning Hashimoto is a control freak who seeks dictatorial power, lashes out when he doesn't get his way, and who is popular with voters because he is a smooth talker who comes across well on television, not because he has well-thought out policies.

Of particular concern to some politicians is Hashimoto's perceived eagerness to call for dissolving local assemblies if they disagree or veto a local leader's plans for economic reform or political reorganization. Critics say the "Hashimoto method" of local governance, as the Osaka media have dubbed it, aims to replace independent assemblies with rubber-stamp bodies that bow to the will of the mayor or governor.

Last month, Hashimoto's support of Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura, who called a snap mayoral election and pushed to recall the municipal assembly, drew a warning from Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Nobuteru Ishihara. In a veiled reference to the methods Kawamura and Hashimoto were using, Ishihara told supporters of an LDP-backed opponent of Kawamura that Adolph Hitler rose to power in the 1930s through legal means.

Former Iwate Gov. Hiroya Masuda and former Miyagi Gov. Shiro Asano have also criticized Hashimoto and Kawamura's approach, questioning whether it is wise to have a system of government with so much power vested with a single leader rather than an elected assembly.

"Assembly members are also the representatives of the people, and the decisions of the assemblies must be respected," Masuda said.

"I'm not a dictator. I'm just using various methods within the rules of democracy to realize my ideas. That's what politics is about," Hashimoto said in defense of his methods at a January news conference.

Yet after nearly three years of mostly glowing local press reviews, the recent criticism of his policies, as opposed to his style, appears to be irritating the governor.

In recent months, Hashimoto has used his news conferences as a bully pulpit to berate media who question the validity of his proposals, or run Op-Ed pieces or comments by critics who say he has failed to address basic questions and provide sufficient details about his plans.

The governor said last month that media that simply report comments by critics such as Osaka Mayor Kunio Hiramatsu, one of his most vocal opponents, haven't studied his proposals properly. He has also hinted that if he can't succeed with the One Osaka plan, he will not stand for a second term next year.

"If realizing the concept of a One Osaka government entity appears highly unlikely, my role is finished," he told reporters this month.

However, Hashimoto added that if his political party fails to capture the Osaka Municipal Assembly in April's elections, he will not immediately dissolve it.

At present, only 13 of the city's 86 seats are directly held by Hashimoto's party. If they capture a majority either on their own or in alliance with other parties, Hashimoto has said his next goal would be to put up a candidate to run against Hiramatsu in November's Osaka mayoral election.

 

The Japan Times: Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011
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