Sunday, November 16, 2008

Murayama Statement

Murayama Statements

The world has seen fifty years elapse since the war came to an end. Now, when I remember the many people both at home and abroad who fell victim to war, my heart is overwhelmed by a flood of emotions.

The peace and prosperity of today were built as Japan overcame great difficulty to arise from a devastated land after defeat in the war. That achievement is something of which we are proud, and let me herein express my heartfelt admiration for the wisdom and untiring effort of each and every one of our citizens. Let me also express once again my profound gratitude for the indispensable support and assistance extended to Japan by the countries of the world, beginning with the United States of America. I am also delighted that we have been able to build the friendly relations which we enjoy today with the neighboring countries of the Asia-Pacific region, the United States and the countries of Europe.

Now that Japan has come to enjoy peace and abundance, we tend to overlook the pricelessness and blessings of peace. Our task is to convey to younger generations the horrors of war, so that we never repeat the errors in our history. I believe that, as we join hands, especially with the peoples of neighboring countries, to ensure true peace in the Asia-Pacific region -indeed, in the entire world- it is necessary, more than anything else, that we foster relations with all countries based on deep understanding and trust. Guided by this conviction, the Government has launched the Peace, Friendship and Exchange Initiative, which consists of two parts promoting: support for historical research into relations in the modern era between Japan and the neighboring countries of Asia and elsewhere; and rapid expansion of exchanges with those countries. Furthermore, I will continue in all sincerity to do my utmost in efforts being made on the issues arisen from the war, in order to further strengthen the relations of trust between Japan and those countries.

Now, upon this historic occasion of the 50th anniversary of the war's end, we should bear in mind that we must look into the past to learn from the lessons of history, and ensure that we do not stray from the path to the peace and prosperity of human society in the future.

During a certain period in the not too distant past, Japan, following a mistaken national policy, advanced along the road to war, only to ensnare the Japanese people in a fateful crisis, and, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. In the hope that no such mistake be made in the future, I regard, in a spirit of humility, these irrefutable facts of history, and express here once again my feelings of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology. Allow me also to express my feelings of profound mourning for all victims, both at home and abroad, of that history.

Building from our deep remorse on this occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, Japan must eliminate self-righteous nationalism, promote international coordination as a responsible member of the international community and, thereby, advance the principles of peace and democracy. At the same time, as the only country to have experienced the devastation of atomic bombing, Japan, with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons, must actively strive to further global disarmament in areas such as the strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. It is my conviction that in this way alone can Japan atone for its past and lay to rest the spirits of those who perished.

It is said that one can rely on good faith. And so, at this time of remembrance, I declare to the people of Japan and abroad my intention to make good faith the foundation of our Government policy, and this is my vow.











Thursday, November 06, 2008

Poor Dad & Rich Dad

The title of this post sounds as if we've heard it somewhere. There's no difference in such a debate on economic inequality between in Japan and in the US.

Do you hate the capitalist society? Long time ago some social revisionists tried to transform the capitalist society into the communist society to make the people's live better off. However, such a great trial failed as a result. Ironically, they became poorer and poorer in the communist world while they became richer and richer in the capitalist world.

Why? That's the today's question to answer and might be one of the great economic debates.

Poor Aren't Poor Because Rich Are Rich, By Robert Samuelson

Thousands of well-paid investment bankers, traders, portfolio managers and security analysts are losing their jobs. Though Wall Street bonuses will continue, their total is likely to decrease. Gains in executive compensation may be similarly squeezed. Profits are down; the political climate is hostile.

In 2005, the richest 1% of Americans had 18% of total income and paid 28% of all federal taxes, says the Congressional Budget Office. Their income won't grow much. Even if higher tax rates increase government revenues, the effect will be less than before.

Judged only by economic inequality, the financial crisis is a godsend. It will probably narrow the gap — though still vast — between the rich and everybody else. But what good will that do? Economic inequality also declined in the Great Depression. The country wasn't better off.

By and large, the poor aren't poor because the rich are rich. They're usually poor for their own reasons: family breakdown, low skills, destructive personal habits and plain bad luck.

The presumption implicit in the criticism of growing economic inequality is that society's income is a given and, if the rich have less, others will have more. Up to a point, that's true. The government already redistributes much income, often for the good.

During the boom years, companies might have been less lavish with top executives and slightly more generous to other workers or shareholders. Some new fortunes stem from self-dealing and financial razzle-dazzle, not the creation of real economic value. It's just desserts that some of this wealth has evaporated.

But the redistributionist argument is at best a half-truth. The larger truth is that much of the income of the rich and well-to-do comes from what they do. If they stop doing it, then the income and wealth vanish. No one gets it. It can't be redistributed because it doesn't exist. Everyone's poorer.

This isn't just theory. Last week, Gov. David Paterson of New York pleaded with Congress to provide emergency aid to states. Heavily dependent on Wall Street for taxes, he testified, New York faces a $12.5 billion budget deficit next year and expects joblessness to rise by 160,000.

Wall Street bonuses will drop by 43% and cap gains income by 35%, he estimated. People in New York would be better off if the securities industry were still booming, even if there were more economic inequality.

Americans legitimately resent Wall Street types who profited from dubious investment strategies that aggravated today's crisis. And government properly redistributes income to reduce hardship and poverty.

But that's different from attempting to deduce and engineer some optimal distribution of income. Government can't do that and shouldn't try.

Scapegoating and punishing all of the rich won't do us any good if the resulting taxes dull investment and risk-taking, discouraging economic growth that benefits everyone.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Banzai!!! Obama!!!

In Japan we can see Obama many times on TV because it is telling us the news of the US presidential election.

We wouldn't care about such an election because it is not the election for the Japanese leadership. But TV broadcasts him and the presidential election everyday just as if it is the general election for the prime minister in Japan.

I don't care about who the next US president is(it sounds interesting that he is the first black president in the US), but I am just waiting for good news to come to us.