Japan Arms Up


Japan map CIA fact bookJapan Arms Up

It is obvious to the most casual observer that China’s actions in the South China Sea are fueling tensions in the region. Japan has been adding to its fleet, and I don’t doubt that we will see bigger warships and larger aircraft in the next few years.

Why is this in a business ethics web site?

That’s easy. American institutions like corporations and investment banks willingness to provide money and investment to a crass totalitarian government carries risks. China’s bellicose foreign policy demonstrates just how big that risk is. In the event of a showdown with the United States and its allies, what’s going to happen to hundreds of billions of dollars of investment?

We were told and continue to be told what a great place for investment, China is.

Yeah, just keep repeating that. But watch the news, and count how many carriers the Chinese now have (three).

James Pilant

Japan should reverse course on defense policy, panel says | Al Jazeera America

A government panel will urge Japan to allow its military to help allies that come under attack, a major reversal of the country’s ban on collective defense under its pacifist constitution. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants Japan to play a greater role in international peacekeeping and step up its defense posture, citing potential military threats from China and North Korea.

The panel on Tuesday discussed ways that Japan can improve its defense capability and said it will present its near-final draft recommendation in coming weeks, before its final report is expected sometime after April.

The 14-member panel, headed by former Ambassador to the U.S. Shunji Yanai, said the revision is possible if the government alters its current interpretation of the war-renouncing constitution. Formal constitutional change involves high hurdles, though Abe eventually hopes to achieve that as well.

The constitution, written under U.S. direction after World War II, says the Japanese people “forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation” and that “land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.” 

The government has interpreted those clauses as meaning that Japan cannot possess offensive military weapons such as ICBMs or long-range strategic bombers.

Abe and other supporters of the change believe that restrictions should be removed from the military, and that Japan’s current self-defense-only policy is inadequate as the region’s security environment becomes more challenging. 

via Japan should reverse course on defense policy, panel says | Al Jazeera America.

From around the web.

From the web site, Consortium of Defense Analysts.

http://cofda.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/aircraft-carrier-race-china-vs-japan-india/

Discreetly, the Japanese aren’t boasting much about the 19,500-ton Izumo, which should be ready for action in two years, but Japan’s success in producing such a vessel may diminish the Chinese challenge to Japanese control over the disputed Senkaku islands, Diaoyu to the Chinese. No one doubts that Japanese shipyards, after decades producing some of the biggest, most sophisticated commercial vessels, could turn out still more in the Izumo class – and go up in class to full-fledged aircraft carriers.

Hong Kong’s Monster Parents


SVG map of Hong Kong's administrative districts.
SVG map of Hong Kong’s administrative districts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

I think something similar has been happening here for some time. It’s because of neoliberalism, the doctrine that education is a good to be purchased like a car or a vacation house. We, Americans, strive for an education to get and keep a job forgetting that education has other vital purposes like the creation of whole and vital human beings. The Chinese in Hong Kong also pursue an education for a job but also for social status, and, of course, their system of high school ends in a test that determines who goes to college and who does not. Less than half will qualify. Our testing regime is hideous beyond words but it does not carry that penalty, at least not yet.

 

I have a lot of sympathy for Monster parents. There is unfairness for some students. One of my son’s high school teachers told him that he would never go to college. Since my wife (now ex-wife) and I have two degrees apiece, we thought he probably would go to college (he’s attending one now). I let the matter blow over but there is a part of me that wanted confrontation, a confrontation that teacher would not have forgotten.

 

Still, however sympathetic I may be, I can’t see putting a child through a childhood absent play and solitude.

 

James Pilant 

 

 

The Existential Angst of Hong Kong’s ‘Monster Parents’ | Yuen Chan

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yuen-chan/hong-kong-monster-parents_b_4058306.html

 

For a story about the pressures of early childhood in Hong Kong, my students recently interviewed the mother of a four-year-old who has soccer class on Mondays, piano and violin on Thursdays, extra English and maths on Thursdays and Fridays and music on Saturdays. She was also considering Mandarin and swimming, and all this on top of kindergarten. This may be an extreme case, but there is constant pressure for parents to put their kids on the treadmill and a lucrative industry to promote it.

 

Unsurprisingly, there was much hand-wringing when a survey published by a local university found Hong Kong\’s school children scored higher than those in the United States, Britain and Australia in a questionnaire that detects antisocial traits. Researchers warned that monster parents were creating a generation of over-confident, spoilt brats with a tendency towards aggression and violence to get their way.

 

But it seems too easy to point the finger at parents, simultaneously accused of fostering cowering, over-dependent children and violent narcissists. Parents are trapped in a pressure cooker — an education system that emphasizes academic achievement, as measured in test results, above all else, a culture that deems those without university degrees as failures.

 

What\’s worse, more and more students are attaining the minimum grades needed to qualify to study …(Please visit the web site and read the whole article. jp)

 

via The Existential Angst of Hong Kong’s ‘Monster Parents’ | Yuen Chan.

 

From around the web.

 

From the web site, Education in Japan Community Blog.

 

http://educationinjapan.wordpress.com/parenting-potpourri/monster-parents-and-monster-kids/

 

These days, in Japan at least, there is a great hoo-hah over the

issue of Monster Parents, on the heels of an earlier debate over the

overindulged, selfish and adrift youngsters.

 

These issues are of course not confined to Japan. A quick google on

the internet and you will see that the Monster Parents in India, in the

USA, and the issue of overindulged kids surfaces often in China where

the one-child government policy has resulted in children so precious,

and thus overindulged by society at large. If you ever manage to catch

Super Nanny the British (virtual TV of sorts) series, it’s good for a

jolting confrontation with screaming brats and yelling dads, etc.

 

Nor is the issue as many experts say it is, a phenomenon of our

times. Catching up on a Jane Austen fest on cable TV, and rereading many

Victorian (Regency) classics in the past two weeks, I realized that

“monster parents” and spoilt brats were very much shown up in nearly

every book and often caricatured in ways totally recognizable to us.

 

The Victorian classics were written by young women like Jane Austen

or Charlotte Bronte, who were, being from slightly reduced financial

circumstances, forced to be sensible and to move in the circles of the

clergyhood or governnesses. As such they were highly attuned to the

idiosyncracies, selfish behavioral displays, highhandedness,

snobbishness, vulgarity even, of privileged parents of Victorian high

society…as opposed to the necessary humility, down-to-earthness of the

working or servant classes.

 

Fukushima Disaster Continues


English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...
English: Internationally recognized symbol. Deutsch: Gefahrensymbol für Radioaktivität. Image:Radioactive.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fukushima Disaster Continues

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/20/fukushima-leak-nuclear-pacific

Frantic efforts to contain radioactive leaks at the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been dealt another blow after its operator said about 300 tonnes of highly contaminated water had seeped out of a storage tank at the site.

The leak is the worst such incident since the March 2011 meltdown and is separate from the contaminated water leaks, also of about 300 tonnes a day, reported recently.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said it did not know how the water leaked out or where it had leaked to, but it believed that the spillage had not flowed into the Pacific ocean.

Tepco’s spokesman, Masayuki Ono, said the water had seeped into the ground after breaching a concrete and sandbag barrier around the tank. Workers were pumping out the puddle and removing the remaining water from the tank, he added. Despite efforts to contain the spillage, the leak is already the most severe since the crisis began.

This is the worst leak since the 2011 disaster. Fukushima after the disastrous tsunami was a major disaster. It was on the news every day.

Now it’s slow motion disaster. Leakage continues into the ocean while experts solemnly intone that we shouldn’t worry because the ocean is big.

This is business ethics at its worse. A nuclear power plant was built on the coast near an earthquake fault. The safety systems we were repeatedly assured would never fail failed. We don’t find out from the government or the industry that there is a problem. The news media discovers the serious nature of the crisis. A corrupt industry downplays the incident with government connivance. As the disaster worsens, the lies and incompetence become more and more obvious, and gradually it becomes obvious that when confronted by a disaster, the nuclear industry simply has no idea how to fix the problem. This is contrary to what the industry has been saying for decades.

Remember, just repeat, “Nuclear industry is the future. It’s safe and cost effective. Only a handful of people have died in the rare nuclear accident compared to thousands in the coal industry. It’s only fearmongers and environmental cranks who oppose this future.”

See, after a while you feel better about everything?

James Pilant

From around the web.

From the web site, Fire Earth.

http://feww.wordpress.com/tag/fukushima-nuclear-disaster/

Highly radioactive water from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is leaking into the ocean creating an “emergency” that the operator, TEPCO, may be unable to contain, said an official from the country’s nuclear watchdog.

“This contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier, is rising toward the surface and is exceeding legal limits of radioactive discharge, Shinji Kinjo, head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) task force,” told Reuters.

Tokyo Electric Power Co’s “sense of crisis is weak,” Kinjo said. “This is why you can’t just leave it up to Tepco alone” to deal with the ongoing disaster.

“Right now, we have an emergency,” he said.

A total of up to 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium may have leaked into the ocean since the disaster, said TEPCO, insisting that it was within legal limits.

From the web site, The Bold Corsican Flame.

http://theboldcorsicanflame.wordpress.com/tag/fukushima-nuclear-disaster/

Two and a half years after the Fukashima tragedy Japan does not want to admit how serious it is, but it is obvious the drastic environmental implications are to follow, Harvey Wasserman, journalist and advocate for renewable energy, told RT.

RT: Japanese officials have admitted a leak at Fukushima has been happening for two years and is worse than earlier thought. Why did it take so long to evaluate the actual repercussions of the tragedy and take decisive measures to tackle them?

HW: The Japanese authorities have been covering up the true depth of the disaster because they don’t want to embarrass themselves and the global nuclear industry and they are trying to open up another nuclear plant in Japan. When the Japanese people now find out that the accident is worse than we thought and they have been leaking many tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean for almost two and a half years, this is a catastrophe. Tokyo Electric has no idea how to control this accident. This is absolutely terrifying after two and a half years. To find out that these reactors have been out of control, now that they can’t control this they don’t know what’s going on. This is not a primitive backward country; this is Japan with advanced technology. It has very serious implications for nuclear power all over the world.

RT: Why the plant’s operator failed to contain the leak?

HW: Because they don’t know what to do. This has never happened before. You have three explosions; you have four nuclear reactors that are severely compromised. No one ever planned for this. This is an apocalyptic event. This is something that could contaminate the entire Pacific Ocean. It is extremely serious. The reality is that Tokyo Electric does not know what is happening and does not know how to control what is going on. Our entire planet is at risk here. This is two and a half years after these explosions and they are still in the dark. It’s terrifying.

From the web site, Vernon Radiation Safety.

http://vernonradiationsafety.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/fukushima-disaster-may-13-2013/

The New York Times has recently reported
that the workers at Fukushima are running out of places to store the
water that has been used to cool the radioactive waste.   The water is
highly radioactive, and is leaking from its storage tanks at the rate of
75 gallons per minute.  In other news,
the Japanese  government is  changing the  threshold for danger so that
people may return.  Thus, doses of less than 20mS/y are now acceptable.

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Japan to fire top nuclear officials in wake of disaster (via 1 Real News)


This disaster happened in March. Virtually everything you can think of went wrong and now, they fire people. I’m not impressed. Once it became obvious that the people in charge were grossly incompetent, it might have been better to fire them immediately than waiting for months for what is apparently a better political climate.

James Pilant

Japan to fire top nuclear officials in wake of disaster ReutersAugust 4, 2011Japan will replace three senior bureaucrats in charge of nuclear power policy, the minister overseeing energy policy said on Thursday, five months after the world’s worst atomic crisis in 25 years erupted at Fukushima.The move comes as Prime Minister Naoto Kan calls for enhanced nuclear safety accountability and an overhaul of Japan’s energy policy, with the aim of gradually weaning it off its dependence on nuclear power as p … Read More

via 1 Real News

High radiation found at Japan’s Fukushima plant (via National Post | News)


Just when you think the Fukushima crisis had finally been scrubbed from the news by various interest groups and the Japanese government, it comes roaring right back at you.

James Pilant

TOKYO — Pockets of lethal levels of radiation have been detected at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in a fresh reminder of the risks faced by workers battling to contain the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) reported on Monday that radiation exceeding 10,000 millisieverts per hour was found at the bottom of a ventilation stack standing between two reactors. On Tuesday Tepco said i … Read More

via National Post | News

Japan Passes Law To Cleanse Internet Of ‘Bad’ Fukushima Radiation News (via THE INTERNET POST)


Predictable, I wonder why it took so long. As radiation is detected in larger and large amounts further and further away from the damaged nuclear plants, I guess things just started to get annoying. So, we’re just going to give all those nasty news agencies a good talking to!

James Pilant

Japan Passes Law To Cleanse Internet Of 'Bad' Fukushima Radiation News 'The supposedly free democratic nation of Japan, which supposedly values and promotes freedom of speech, has officially issued orders to telecommunication companies and webmasters to remove content from websites that counter the official government position that the disaster is over and there is no more threat from the radiation. The government charges that the damage caused by earthquakes and by the nuclear accident are being magnified by irresp … Read More

via THE INTERNET POST

Japan considers stress tests for nuclear reactors (via Financial Post | Business)


This is certainly a classic case of closing the barn door after the animal has fled. Yet, the measure is probably no going to pass, even in the face of solid evidence that the plant was already in partial meltdown from the earthquake before the tsunami hit.

James Pilant

TOKYO – Japan’s government is considering conducting stress tests on nuclear reactors to ease safety concerns which have blocked the restart of idled reactors since the March quake and tsunami, including several that have completed maintenance and complied with new, stiffer safety standards. Japan is struggling with a drawn-out crisis after meltdowns at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi atomic plant, site of the world’s worst nuclear incident in 25 … Read More

via Financial Post | Business

Shareholders hammer Tepco over nuclear fiasco (via MY VOICE)


My favorite sentence –

Another investor shouted that Tepco’s executives should jump into their stricken reactors and die to take the blame for the fiasco.

Enjoy the article and remember that TEPCO has paid out more than 19 billion dollars in damages but that if this happened in America, the responsible utility company would be out less than a hundred million dollars due to our government protecting them from losses.

James Pilant

Shareholders hammer Tepco over nuclear fiasco By KAZUAKI NAGATA Staff writer Tokyo Electric Power Co. faced a six-hour barrage of heavy flak from shareholders Tuesday at their annual meeting, with management blasted over how it has handled the world’s worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Demonstrators gather outside Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Fukuoka Prefecture. KYODO Many investors demanded to know why Tepco failed to foresee the tsunami … Read More

via MY VOICE

Nuclear Plant, Left for Dead, Shows a Pulse (via Energy)


You cannot kill these things.

Christopher Lee as Dracula in a mid-sixties Hammer film has the life span of a mayfly by comparison.

This nuclear plant, little more than a pile of looted wreckage is under consideration for construction.

I call upon anyone and every one for a little respect for the facts of the situation. Surely, we can think better than this?

James Pilant

By MATTHEW L. WALD/NYT HOLLYWOOD, Ala. — Spider webs line the 50-story cooling towers, parts have been amputated for the scrap value of their nickel or copper, and the control room still has analog dials at Bellefonte 1, a half-built nuclear plant here that was shelved 23 years ago. This does not seem like a particularly opportune moment to breathe life back into a reactor that was designed before the computer age. But its owner, the … Read More

via Energy

Worries Over Two Nuclear Plants (via )


I think there is definitely some grounds for concern. If you buy the idea that corporations are only in business to make money and have no other responsibilities, the idea that they might skimp on protections becomes very viable.

Nuclear plants are indemnified by the federal government if they cause more than a certain amount of damage. Off the top of my head, I believe that amount is fifty million dollars. That’s not a lot of incentive to protect the public. For many corporations, fifty million dollars is small change.

TEPCO, the Japanese utility that runs the nuclear plants that have melted down would have loved to have a deal like the American government gives out to our nuclear utilities.

It should be obvious that indemnification destroys a lot of corporate rationale for safety. If the money damages aren’t that big a deal, why not cut corners?

James Pilant

Worries Over Two Nuclear Plants As record floodwaters along the Missouri River drench homes and businesses, concerns have grown about keeping a couple of notable structures dry: two riverside nuclear power plants in Nebraska. Though the plants have declared “unusual events,” the lowest level in the emergency taxonomy used by federal nuclear regulators, both were designed to withstand this level of flooding, and neither is viewed as being at risk for a disaster, said a spokesman … Read More

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