2019年9月16日 星期一

US Amazon opened the world's largest office in India


Recently CNN.co.jp reported the following:
米アマゾン、世界最大のオフィスをインドに開設

2019.08.26 Mon posted at 16:30 JST
  米アマゾンが、世界最大規模のオフィスをインド・ハイデラバードにオープンした/Amazon India

ニューデリー(CNN Business) 米アマゾンはこのほど、同社の拠点として世界最大規模のオフィスをインド南部ハイデラバードにオープンした。

アマゾンのビルはハイデラバードの金融街に建設された。敷地面積約3.8万平方メートル、オフィス面積約17万平方メートルと、一つの建物としては同社で最大の広さ。敷地面積は将来、フットボール場65面分に当たる約28万平方メートルまで拡大する計画があるという。

インド国内の正社員6万2000人余りの4分の1近い1万5000人を収容できる。

アマゾンが同国で雇用する契約社員も15万5000人に上り、1カ国の従業員数としては米国に次いで多い。

アマゾンは近年、巨大な市場を擁するインドへの進出を積極的に進めてきた。同社幹部はハイデラバードの新オフィスについて、長期的な事業展開の第一歩だと述べた。

このオフィスは、同社が米国外に保有する初の完全な自社ビルだ。

ハイデラバードは2004年、アマゾンがインドで初めて進出した都市。市内には、米マイクロソフトのインド本社や、スウェーデン発の家具大手イケアの同国1号店もある。

Translation

2019.08.26 Mon posted at 16:30 JST
  Amazon opened the world's largest office in Hyderabad, India / Amazon India

New Delhi (CNN Business)-- Amazon recently opened the world's largest office in Hyderabad, southern India, as the company's base.

The Amazon building was built in Hyderabad's financial district. With a site area of ​​approximately 38,000 square meters and an office area of ​​approximately 170,000 square meters, it was the largest building in the company. There were plans to expand the site area to about 280,000 square meters in the future, which would equivalent to 65 football fields.

It could accommodate 15,000 people, nearly a quarter of the 62,000 regular employees in India.

Amazon employed 155,000 contract employees in the country, the second largest number of employees in one country after the United States.

In recent years, Amazon had been aggressively expanding into India, which had a huge market. The company executive said that Hyderabad's new office would be the first step in its long-term business development.

This office would be the company's first fully-owned building outside the United States.

Hyderabad was the first city where Amazon entered India in 2004. In the city, there was also Microsoft's Indian headquarters, and the first IKEA furniture store which was a major furniture company from Sweden.

     It is interesting to know that amazon has picked India to open its biggest office instead of China, Malaysia or even Vietnam. For sure amazon prefers Indian because it is an emerging market. Yet, currently India’s economy is facing a slowing down and as such, I think this investment project may take some time before bearing fruit.

2019年9月13日 星期五

Sexual orientation towards the same sex: no specific gene - International research team


Recently Asahi Shimbun reported the following:
同性への性的指向、特定の遺伝子なし 国際研究チーム

戸田政考 20198300300

 人間の性的指向と遺伝子の関わりについて、国際研究チームが約47万人の遺伝情報(ゲノム)を調べたところ、同性との性的行為に強く関わる単一の遺伝子は存在しないことが確認された。専門家は「性的指向は遺伝よりも、様々な要因が影響していることが示された」としている。

 論文は29日、米科学誌「サイエンス」に掲載された。豪クイーンズランド大などのチームは、英バイオバンクや米企業が持つ両国など約47万人分のゲノムデータを元に、「同性と性的行為をした」などと答えた人と、そうでない人との違いを見た。

 その結果、同性との性的行為に強く影響を与える単一の遺伝子は見つからなかった。一方、同性と性的行為をしない人との間には、一つ一つの影響は弱いゲノムの違いが5カ所見つかった。さらに微弱なものは多数あるとみられる。

 こうした結果を元に遺伝子の影響を推定すると、英国で約8%、米国で約24%だった。過去の小規模な研究の結果とほぼ同じ傾向だった。

 研究に関わった米ブロード研究所のベンジャミン・ニール氏は「今回の結果は(全体の結果を表すもので)一人ひとりの性的行為を推測するものではない」としている。


 ログイン前の続きゲノム解析に詳しい東京大大学院の鎌谷洋一郎教授は「同性間の性的行為は、身長や知能などと同様に、個々には効果が弱いものの非常に多くの遺伝因子が関わる『複雑形質』であることが改めて示された。ただ、今回の研究ですべてが明らかになったわけではない。欧米人のゲノムを解析した結果が日本人にそのままあてはまるわけでもないだろう」と話している。

岡山大の中塚幹也教授(産婦人科)の話

 今回の研究結果は、性的指向は一つの遺伝子によるものではなく、治療の対象でもないことを示している。視力や身長、容姿などと同じように、性的指向も多様性があり、様々な要因が複雑に絡みあっている。

LGBTQに関してメディア啓発などをしている米国の団体「GLAAD」のチーフプログラムオフィサー、ジーク・ストークス氏のコメント

 今回の研究はゲイやレズビアンであることは、人間の生活の自然な部分であるという、さらなる証拠を示している。

 このことは研究者や科学者らによって、何度も導き出された結論だ。ゲイやレズビアンの行動に、生まれや養育が影響を及ぼす決定的なものはない、という長年の確立された理解を再確認している。

Translation

An international research team examined the genetic information (genome) of about 470,000 people regarding the relationship between human sexual orientation and genes, it was confirmed that there was no one single gene strongly related to same sex sexual activities. Experts said that sexual orientation had been influenced by various factors other than heredity.

The paper was published in the US science journal "Science" on the 29th. Australian Queensland University and other teams, based on genome data for about 470,000 people held by the UK Biobank and US companies, tried to see the difference between those who answered “doing sexual activity with the same sex” etc. and those who did not.

As a result, no one single gene that strongly affects sexual activity with the same sex was found. On the other hand, among individuals who did not have the same sex sexual activity, on one by one impact, a minor genome difference in five places were found. It seemed that even more weaker genomes could be found.

Based on these results, the influence of genes was estimated to be about 8% in the UK and about 24% in the US. The results were almost the same as the results of past small studies.

Benjamin Neil of the Broad Institute who was involved in the research said " This result (representing the overall results) is not an estimate of each person's sexual activity. "

Prof. Yoichiro Kamatani at the Graduate School of the University of Tokyo who was familiar with continued genome analysis before logging in said “sexual activity among same sex is just like height and intelligence; it shows again that there is a 'complex trait' involving a large number of genetic factors although the effect is weak individually. However, not everything had been clarified in this study, and the results of analyzing the genomes of Westerners might not apply to Japanese people as they are.”


Arguments of Okayama University Professor Mikiya Nakatsuka (Gynecology and Obstetrics)
The results of this study indicated that sexual orientation was not due to one single gene and was not a subject of treatment. Like vision, height, and appearance, sexual orientation was diverse, and various factors were intertwined.

Comments from Henry Stokes, chief program officer of the US organization “GLAAD”, which conducted media awareness related to LGBTQ
This study showed further evidence that being a gay or lesbian was a natural part of human life.

This was a conclusion that had been drawn many times by researchers and scientists. It reaffirmed the long-standing and established understanding that birth and nurturing had no decisive influence on gay and lesbian behavior.

       So, this study once again confirms that sexual orientation is not due to a single gene and is not a subject of any medical treatment.

2019年9月12日 星期四

Low-priced version iPhone to be released in spring 2020


Recently Nihon Keizai Shimbun Electronic Edition reported the following:
iPhone廉価版、20年春にも発売へ 米アップル
ネット・IT 北米
2019/9/4 18:00日本経済新聞 電子版
米アップルはスマートフォン「iPhone(アイフォーン)」の価格を抑えた新製品を2020年春にも発売することが4日、明らかになった。有機ELよりも安価な液晶パネルを使い、最新機種より画面を小さくする。アップルが得意としてきた高級機種は中国経済の減速などで販売が落ち込んでいる。廉価版を投入し、韓国のサムスン電子や中国の華為技術(ファーウェイ)などの商品に対抗する。

複数の関係者が日本経済新聞の取材で明らかにした。16年に発売した「SE」の後継機という位置づけで、来春にも発売する。アップルは今月10日に発表会を開く予定だが、今秋に発売する上位機種の披露が中心になる見通し。同社は廉価版の新製品に関する日経新聞の問い合わせには回答しなかった。

画面の大きさは17年に発売した4.7インチの「8」とほぼ同じで安価な液晶パネルを使うことで価格を抑える。そのほか多くの部品は上位機種とほぼ同じものを使う。価格は未定だが、サムスン電子の「ギャラクシーA30」(4万円前後)などの競合商品に対抗する。

iPhoneを取り巻く環境は厳しさが増している。米中貿易摩擦の影響でスマホの最大市場の中国でiPhoneの販売台数が振るわず、世界全体でも減少している。米調査会社IDCによると1946月のスマホ世界シェアはiPhone10%でサムスン電子、ファーウェイに次いで3位になっている。

Translation

The US Apple announced on the 4th that it would launch a new product in the spring of 2020 that kept the price of the “iPhone” in check. It would use a liquid crystal panel that was cheaper than organic EL and make the screen smaller than the latest model. Sales of high-end models that Apple had been good at had declined due to a slowdown in the Chinese economy. A low-priced version would be launched to compete with products such as Samsung Electronics in Korea and Huawei in China.

Several officials revealed this in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun interview. Positioned as the successor to the “SE” released in 2016, it would be released next spring. Apple planned to hold a presentation on the 10th of this month, but it was expected to focus on showing the top models to be released this fall. The company did not respond to Nikkei newspaper inquiries about the new low-priced product.

The size of the screen would be almost the same as the 4.7-inch “8” released in 2017, and the price would be reduced by using an inexpensive LCD panel. Many other parts would use almost the same parts as the top model. The price was undecided, but it would compete with competing products such as Samsung Electronics' Galaxy A30 (around 40,000 yen).

The environment surrounding the iPhone was becoming increasingly severe. Due to the US-China trade friction, iPhone sales in China as the largest market for smartphones was below expectation; even in the world it was declining. According to the US research company IDC, the global market share of iPhone in April-June 2019 was 10%, ranking third after Samsung Electronics and Huawei.

     So, the iPhone manufacture is also aiming at making cheaper models in order to expand its market share.

2019年9月11日 星期三

Is Nessie a huge eel? Underwater DNA research - “possibility could not be excluded”


Recently NHK News On-line reported the following:
ネッシーは巨大うなぎ?水中のDNA調査「可能性排除できず」
201996 842

イギリス北部にあるネス湖の謎の生物、「ネッシー」について専門家グループが湖の水を採取して調査した結果、恐竜のような生き物のDNAは見つかりませんでした。その一方で「巨大なうなぎである可能性は排除できない」としています。

ネッシーはイギリス北部スコットランドにあるネス湖で85年前に撮影されたとされる写真などから、世界中のマニアなどの間で恐竜のような長い首を持つ謎の生き物として語られてきました。

ニュージーランドのオタゴ大学の遺伝学者、ニール・ゲメル教授が率いる国際的な研究チームは去年、その真相を究明しようとネス湖のおよそ250か所で水のサンプルを採取し、中に含まれた生き物の皮膚や排せつ物などの「環境DNA」をデータベースに照合して、湖に生息している生き物の種類を特定する分析を続けてきました。

ゲメル教授は5日、イギリスで記者会見を開き、調査の結果、恐竜のような生き物のDNAは発見できなかったと発表しました。

その一方で、「ネス湖ではうなぎのDNAが多く見つかった。謎の生き物が巨大なうなぎである可能性は排除できない」と述べ、ネッシーの正体がうなぎである可能性は残されていると指摘しました。

今回の調査をもってしてもネッシーをめぐる論争に終止符が打たれることはなさそうです。

Translation

A group of experts gathered and investigated the water of Lake Ness in northern England for the mysterious creature of Loch Ness, and found no DNA for dinosaur-like creatures. On the other hand, “the possibility of a huge eel cannot be excluded”.

Nessie had been described as a mysterious creature with a long neck like a dinosaur among enthusiasts around the world based on photographs taken 85 years ago at Loch Ness in Scotland, Northern England.

Last year, an international research team led by Professor Neil Gemmell, a geneticist at the University of Otago in New Zealand, took water samples at approximately 250 locations in Loch Ness to find out the truth. We had continued analysis to identify the types of creatures inhabiting the lake by collating “environmental DNA” such as skin and excrement with a database.

Professor Gemmell held a press conference in the UK on the 5th, and as a result of the investigation, he announced that DNA of creatures like dinosaurs could not be found.

On the other hand, he said, “There is a lot of eel DNA found in Loch Ness. The possibility that the mysterious creature being a giant eel cannot be ruled out,” pointing to the possibility that Nessie ’s identity is an eel.

Even with this survey, it seemed unlikely that the dispute over Nessie would end.

     So, the story of the Loch Ness monster will continue and tourist will continue to be attracted to visit the lake.

2019年9月9日 星期一

China was cautious of money outflow, new regulations to avoid sharp yuan depreciation


Recently Nihon Keizai Shimbun Electronic Edition reported the following:
中国、資金流出を警戒 急激な元安回避へ新規制
中国・台湾
2019/8/29 23:00日本経済新聞 電子版
【上海=張勇祥】中国政府が海外への資金流出を抑制する新規制を導入した。資金流出が加速した場合、海外送金や外貨売却が多い銀行の評価を引き下げる新ルールを適用する。不動産会社には借り換え目的以外の外債発行を禁じた。米中貿易戦争が長期化するなか、人民元相場で11年ぶりとなる1ドル=7元を突破し、当局は当面この水準を容認しているが、元安に歯止めがかからない状況は回避したい考えだ

■海外送金多い銀行の評価下げ

中国政府は元安を容認して輸出企業への影響を緩和する方針だが、2015年の人民元切り下げを機に起きた「人民元ショック」のような急激な元売り圧力に襲われることを警戒する。

このため導入したのが元売りが膨らまないよう銀行の海外送金などを制限する新しい規則だ。金融システムの安定が損なわれかねないと判断した場合、国家外貨管理局は「非平常時」と認定する。各行の元の海外送金、外貨売却の状況を全国平均と比べ、差が大きいほど評価を下げる。低評価の銀行は業務に制限をかけられる可能性がある。

現在も当局は海外送金を制限するため、個人顧客に詳しい資料を提出させるよう銀行を厳格指導している。留学費用なら入学許可書、仕送りでは相手先の在職証明などを求める。「不動産や保険商品の購入目的での海外送金は認めていない」(準大手銀行の支店)

元の海外送金と顧客への外貨売却は、元安や資金流出が止まらなかった1617年にも外貨管理局が規制した。このときは外国人が円換算で数十万円規模の送金をするのも難しくなった。手段を選ばない規制に海外から批判を浴びたが、今回は直接的な資本規制は回避して批判をかわす狙いだ。

だが外貨管理局は平常時と非平常時の判断基準を示しておらず、当局のさじ加減で海外送金に支障が出る恐れがある。


■不動産会社の外貨調達制限

不動産会社にはより厳しい規制を課した。国家発展改革委員会は外債発行による調達資金の使途を「1年以内に満期を迎える海外債務に限る」と通知し、借り換え以外の調達は認めない方針だ。

中国の不動産会社は元が高値で推移した1315年にドル建て債務を膨らませた。197月時点の残高は1700億ドル(18兆円)との調査もある。元安が進めば債務返済の負担はさらに重くなる。

ドルを調達すれば一時的に元高要因になる可能性はある。だが信用の低下した不動産会社は10%前後の高利で借りている例もある。これ以上の債務拡大は金融市場の不安定要因になりかねない。

中国政府は米国との摩擦の長期化を懸念する。トランプ米大統領は81日、制裁関税の対象を中国からの輸入品ほぼすべてに広げる「第4弾」の発動を表明した。5日には元の対ドル相場が08年以来となる1ドル=7元台を付けた。29日には一時1ドル=7.17元まで下落し、月間の下落率は約4%と「管理変動相場制」を導入した05年以降で最大になる見通しだ。

Translation

Shanghai Zhang Yuxiang  -- The Chinese government had introduced new regulations to curb the outflow of funds to foreign countries.  If the outflow of fund accelerated, new rules would be applied to lower the rating of those banks that had many overseas remittance and foreign currency selling. Real estate companies were prohibited from issuing foreign bonds other than for refinancing purposes. Amid a prolonged U.S.-China trade war, the yuan had surpassed the one US dollar to seven yuan level which was not seen in 11 years, and the authorities tolerated this level for the time being, but they wanted to avoid a situation in which the yuan's depreciation could not be stopped.

 Lowering the evaluation rating of banks with a lot of overseas remittance

The Chinese government was prepared to ease its influence on exporting companies by allowing a yuan depreciation but was wary of being hit by sharp yuan pressures such as the "Yuan shock" triggered by the yuan's devaluation in 2015.

For this reason, new rules were introduced to restrict banks' overseas remittance so that the yuan selling would not expand. If it was determined that the stability of the financial system could be damaged, the National Foreign Exchange Administration could determine the situaion as "abnormal time". Focus on individual bank’s overseas yuan remittance and the statue of foreign currency selling, when compared to the national average, the greater the difference the lower the evaluation rating. There was a possibility that the lowly rated banks might be restricted in their operations.

The authorities for the purpose of restricting overseas remittances, instructed banks to strictly provide detailed information of individual customers. If the remittance was for a study abroad fee an admission letter was required, and also for proof of employment etc. of the party in remittance. "Overseas remittances for the purpose of purchasing real estate and insurance products were not permitted" (branch of a semi-major bank).

The foreign currency management bureau had tried to regulate the yuan overseas remittance and the selling of foreign currency to customers in the year 2016-17 when both yuan deprecation and the outflow of funds could not be stopped. This time, it became difficult for the foreigner to send the remittance of several hundred thousand yen in yen conversion. It had attracted criticism from overseas in that the regulations were not the way to go. This time the aim was to fend off criticism by avoiding direct capital control.

However, the foreign currency management bureau did not show the criteria to judge what was normal time and non-normal time, and there was a possibility that the overseas remittance might be hindered by the level of adjustments of the authorities.

Restricting real estate companies in buying foreign currency 

 Stricter regulations were imposed on real estate companies. The National Development and Reform Commission notified that the use of funds raised by issuing foreign bonds would be limited to “overseas debt which will expire within a year”, and would not allow procurement other than for refinancing.

Chinese real estate companies inflated their US dollar-denominated debt in the year 2013-15 when the yuan shifted to a high price. According an investigation as of July 2019, the balance was 170 billion US dollars (18 trillion yen). If the yuan was weakened, the burden of debt repayment would become even heavier.

If US dollar rose, it could temporarily become a source of high yuan. However, there were examples that the real estate company which had low credit rating to borrow at a high interest rate of around 10%.  Further debt expansion could be a factor in financial market instability.

Beijing was concerned about a prolonged friction with the United States. U.S. President Trump announced on Monday that he would launch the "fourth round" to extend the sanctions to almost all Chinese imports. On the 5th, the yuan's exchange rate against the US dollar was at the lowest since 2008. On the 29th at one time it fell to 7.17 yuan for one dollar, the largest monthly decline rate of about 4%, and the biggest drop since the introduction of the " Controlled floating exchange-rate system" in 2005.

     So, from now on the remittance of  yuan to overseas will be more restrictive under these new regulations. One effect of such new regulations is that we could from now on see fewer property buying activities by the Chinese in Australia, the UK, Canada and the US.

2019年9月3日 星期二

The residence status of 832 people cancelled - a record high


Recently NHK News On-line reported the following:
在留資格の取り消し 832人と最多に
2019821 513

去年1年間に、日本の在留資格を取り消された外国人は832人と前の年の2倍以上に増え、統計を取り始めて以降、最も多くなりました。

出入国在留管理庁によりますと、申請とは異なる活動をしていたことなどを理由に在留資格を取り消された外国人は去年1年間で832人にのぼり、前の年の2倍以上に増えて、統計を取り始めた平成17年以降、最も多くなりました。

取り消された在留資格の種類別では、「留学」が412人と最も多く、留学生を受け入れる日本語学校が全国で急増していることなどを背景に、全体の半数近くを占めました。

これについて、出入国在留管理庁は、日本語学校や大学などを除籍されたあとも、アルバイトで働きながら国内に残っている外国人への取締りを強化した結果だとしています。

また、国籍や地域別では、ベトナムが最も多く416人、次いで、中国が152人、ネパールが62人などとなっています。出入国在留管理庁は「東京の大学で留学生が行方不明なる問題なども起きているため、対策を強化したい」と話しています。

Translation

Last year, the number of foreigners in Japan whose residence status was revoked had increased to 832, more than doubling the previous year and was the highest number since the start of statistics.

According to the Immigration Office, the number of foreigners whose residence status had been revoked due to performing activities different from the application had increased to 832 last year, more than twice the previous year. It was the highest since 2005 when statistics collection started.

By type of residence status canceled, “Study Abroad” was the largest number with 412 students, accounting for nearly half of the total. It was under the background that the number of Japanese schools that accepted international students had increased rapidly throughout the country.

Regarding this, the Immigration Control Office said that it had strengthened its control over foreigners who stayed behind in Japan to work part-time after being removed from Japanese language schools or universities.

In terms of nationality and region, Vietnam had the largest number of 416, followed by China at 152, and Nepal at 62. The Immigration Office said, “I want to strengthen the countermeasures because there is a problem that international students are missing in universities in Tokyo.”

       It is surprising to know that Japan has become a popular location for the Vietnamese to stay behind to work illegally.

2019年9月2日 星期一

The safest city in the world is Tokyo, Osaka is 3rd - 2019 edition ranking


Recently CNN.co.jp reported the following:
世界一安全な都市は東京、大阪は3位 19年版ランキング
2019.08.30 Fri posted at 10:10 JST
  (CNN) 英誌エコノミストがまとめた世界60都市の安全度ランキングで、東京が1位、大阪が3位に選ばれた。

2019年版のランキングでは、観光客が訪れる主要60都市のデジタル、衛生、インフラ、治安について100点満点で評価した。

首位の東京は92点を獲得し、次いでシンガポールが91.5点で2位。3位の大阪は90.9点だった。この3都市は、2015年と17年のランキングでもトップ3に入っている。

東京はデジタルセキュリティでも首位に立ったが、インフラの安全性や治安ではシンガポールの方が高得点だった。

4位に入ったオランダのアムステルダムは、観光客が押し寄せる「オーバーツーリズム」の問題に直面している。欧州ではほかに、デンマークのコペンハーゲンが韓国・ソウルと同着で8位だった。

米国の都市でトップ10入りしたのは7位の首都ワシントンのみ。シカゴは11位にランクされている。

反政府デモが続く影響で観光客が激減している香港は、2017年の9位から、今年は20位へと転落した。

最下位はナイジェリア・ラゴスで安全度評価は38.1点。下位5都市にはほかに、カラカス(ベネズエラ)、ヤンゴン(ミャンマー)、カラチ(パキスタン)、ダッカ(バングラデシュ)が入っている。

2019年の安全度ランキング上位10都市は以下の通り。

1.東京

2.シンガポール

3.大阪

4.アムステルダム(オランダ)

5.シドニー(オーストラリア)

6.トロント(カナダ)

7.ワシントンDC(米国)

8.コペンハーゲン(デンマーク)

8.ソウル(韓国)

10.メルボルン(オーストラリア)

Translation

  (CNN) In the safety ranking of 60 cities around the world compiled by Economists in the UK, Tokyo was ranked first while Osaka was ranked third.

In the ranking of the 2019 edition, the digital, sanitation, infrastructure, and security of 60 major cities visited by tourists were rated on a 100-point scale.

Tokyo, in the first place, won 92 points, followed by Singapore with 91.5 points. Osaka in the third place had 90.9 points. These three cities were also among the top three respectively in the 2015 and 2017 rankings.

Tokyo ranked first in digital security, but Singapore scored higher in terms of infrastructure safety and security.

Amsterdam in the Netherlands stood in the 4th place, it was facing the problem of “over-tourism” as it was inundated by tourists. In Europe, Copenhagen in Denmark was also ranked 8th together with Seoul in South Korea.

Regarding the US cities, only the capital city Washington entered the top ten to stand at the seventh. Chicago was ranked 11th.

Hong Kong, where tourists had fallen dramatically due to the ongoing anti-government demonstrations, dropped from the ninth place in 2017 to 20th place this year.

The lowest rank was Lagos in Nigeria, with a safety rating of 38.1 points. The lower five cities  included Caracas (Venezuela), Yangon (Myanmar), Karachi (Pakistan), and Dhaka (Bangladesh).

The top 10 cities in 2019 were as follows
1. Tokyo
2. Singapore
3. Osaka
4. Amsterdam (Netherlands)
5. Sydney (Australia)
6. Toronto (Canada)
7. Washington DC (USA)
8. Copenhagen (Denmark)
8. Seoul (Korea)
10. Melbourne (Australia)

        It is a pity to note that Hong Kong is in the 20th place. Based on the current situation, it seems that Hong Kong would take several years  before it could return to the top ten. The outcome would much depend on whether China is prepared to sacrifice Hong Kong's prosperity for the purpose of tightening its control over this former British colony.

2019年9月1日 星期日

The largest right-wing newspaper published for about 10 years before the War was found


Recently NHK News On-line reported the following:
戦前最大の右派新聞 10年分見つかる
201989 548

昭和初期に発行され、戦前、最大の右派メディアとも呼ばれた日刊紙、「日本新聞」の紙面、およそ10年間分がほぼ完全な形で残されていたことが分かりました。

これまで多くが失われたとされていて、日本が戦争へと向かっていった道筋を解き明かす貴重な資料として研究者の間で注目を集めています。

見つかったのは、大正14年から昭和10年まで発行されていた日刊紙、「日本新聞」です。

元総理大臣、平沼騏一郎が設立した団体の、資料の収蔵庫に保管されていたもので、創刊から休刊するまでの10年間、およそ3000日分の紙面がほぼ完全な形で残されていました。

日本新聞は、発行部数およそ1万6000部と多くはないものの、政官財に幅広い読者を持ち、戦前最大の右派メディアとして右派思想を広めたとされていましたが、現在は多くが失われ、初期の数年間については内容もほとんど知られていませんでした。

紙面は見開き4ページで、創刊号には編集方針として天皇中心の国家体制を絶対のものにする「日本主義」と呼ばれる思想が掲げられています。見出しには「共産主義の致命的欠陥」や「赤化売国派を掃蕩せよ」などの激しいことばが並んでいます。

日本は、昭和の初めから急速に国家主義的な風潮が広がったとされていますが、日本新聞を詳しく分析することで当時の言論や思想の移り変わりをひもとく手がかりになると期待されています。

日本の近代思想史が専門の京都大学大学院の福家崇洋 准教授は「記事を分析することで、大正デモクラシーで自由をおう歌していたはずの日本社会がどのように変化していったのか、クリアに把握できるはずだ」と話しています。

日本新聞とは
「日本新聞」は、大正から昭和初期にかけて司法大臣や鉄道大臣を務めた政治家、小川平吉が大正14年に創刊しました。当時、気鋭の国粋主義者や民族主義者らが社説や記事を執筆し、およそ1万6000部が発行されました。

創刊の際には、支持者としてのちに総理大臣を務める近衛文麿や東条英機など政治家や軍人、財界トップらが名前を連ね、当時の右派メディアの中では異例の日刊紙として国の中枢から地方の有力者まで幅広い支援者、読者を獲得していました。

日本新聞は10年間にわたっておよそ3000日分が発行され、昭和10年に休刊となりました。残された紙面は戦争中に多くが焼失したほか、戦後は右派メディアへの厳しい風当たりなどから失われてしまい、現在は後半のおよそ5年分しか見つかっていませんでした。


Translation

 Established before the war in the early Showa era, a daily newspaper being called the largest right-wing media, the Nihon Shimbun newspaper, covering a period of about ten years, was found being left behind in an almost intact form.

Up to now most of this newspaper had been lost, and it was attracting attention among researchers as a valuable resource to unravel the path on Japan heading for war.

What was found was the Nihon Shimbun, a daily newspaper published from Taisho 14th to Showa 10th.

It was kept in the material collection of a group established by former Prime Minister Shinichiro Hiranuma; about 3,000 days of paper were left in an almost intact form, covering from the first publication to its suspension in the 10th year.

The Nihon Shimbun, which had a daily circulation of merely about 16,000 copies, had a wide readership among politicians, business leaders and bureaucrats. Now most of the copies were lost. It was said that as the largest right-wing media before the War, it spread the right-wing thoughts. Little was known about its content in its first few years.

The newspaper had four pages, and the first issue had an editorial policy called “Japanese-ism” that made the Emperor-centric state system an absolute one. The headline was lined with violent words such as “a fatal flaw of communism” and “cleaning up the Sovietized traitors”.

Japan was said to have developed a nationalistic trend rapidly since the beginning of the Showa period, but it was expected that analyzing the Nihon Shimbun in detail would provide a clue to the change in speech and thought at that time.

Associate professor Takahiro Fukuya of Kyoto University Graduate School who was specializing in the history of modern thought in Japan said, “By analyzing the articles, you should be able to clearly see how the Japanese society which should have been singing for freedom at the Taisho Democracy was changed. "

About Nihon Shimbun
The Nihon Shimbun was first published in Taisho 14th year by a politician who had served as the Justice Minister and also the Minister of Railways from the Taisho to the early Showa period. At the time, high spirit ultra-nationalists​ and nationalists wrote editorials and articles, and the newspaper had a circulation of  about 16,000 copies.

At the time of the first publication those who began as supporters later became politicians and soldiers such as Konoe Bunji and Hideki Tojo who later served as the prime minister and linked up with the names of top people in the business world. And from the center of right-wing media of the country at that time, as an unusual daily newspaper, it reached prominent local people and had a wide range of supporters and readers.

The Nihon Shimbun was published for approximately 3,000 days spanned over a period of 10 years and was suspended in 1945. Most of the newspaper left behind were burned during the war; and after the war it was lost due to the harsh winds towards the right-wing media, and currently only the paper’s last five years existed.

     So, the finding will help Japanese historians see how Japan, which had been embracing freedom during the Taisho period, suddenly developed into a fascist state in the Showa period.

2019年8月27日 星期二

Cancer testing using saliva - insurance giants to invest in product development that will lower the insurance premium


Recently the NHK News On-line reported the following:
唾液でがん検査 保険大手が出資へ 保険料安くなる商品開発も
2019823 000

わずかな唾液から、がんのリスクを調べられる検査技術を開発したベンチャー企業に、大手の生命保険会社と損害保険会社が出資することになりました。検査を受けた人には保険料を安くする新しい保険商品の開発などを検討する見通しです。

生命保険大手の日本生命と損害保険大手のSOMPOホールディングスは今月中にも、慶応大学の研究所が設立した山形県のベンチャー企業、サリバテックにそれぞれ数億円、出資する方針です。

ベンチャー企業は、わずかな唾液を採取するだけでがんの疑いがあるかどうかを調べることができる検査技術を開発し、各地の医療機関で使われるようになっています。

日本生命とSOMPOホールディングスでは、定期的に検査を受けると保険料が安くなる新しい生命保険や医療保険の開発などを検討する見通しです。

検査でがんを早期に発見できれば契約者のためにもなるうえ、保険会社にとっても保険金の支払いが減って収益の拡大が期待できます。

最近では、健康診断を受けたり運動したりして、病気の予防に取り組んでいる人の保険料を割り引く「健康増進型」の保険が人気で、保険会社も商品開発に力を入れています。

Translation

A major life insurance company and a non-life insurance company had invested in a venture company that developed testing technologies which could examine cancer risks from a small amount of saliva. For those who had been examined, plans were being considered to develop new insurance products that would reduce their insurance premiums.

The major life insurance company Nippon Life and the non-life insurance company SOMPO Holdings were planning to invest several hundred million yen each this month in a venture company, Saliva Tech, a research institute in Yamagata Prefecture established by Keio University.

The venture company had developed testing techniques that could be used to determine whether there was a cancer suspicion by collecting a small amount of saliva and this technique was being used in medical institutions around the world.

Nippon Life and SOMPO Holdings were planning to consider the development of new life insurance and medical insurance that would reduce insurance premiums if there was regular cancer checking.

If cancer could be detected early through testing, beside that it would be beneficial to policyholders, the insurance companies could expect to increase their profits by reducing insurance payments.

Recently, “Health Promotion” insurance, which discounted insurance premiums for people who took health checkups and did exercise to prevent disease, was popular. Insurance companies were also putting a lot of effort into their product development.

     I think this new insurance product which demands regular saliva testing for cancer is a win-win situation for both the insurer and the insured.

2019年8月25日 星期日

Model guns made in Japan (6)



Two Mauser pistol model guns: respectively made by Marushin and MGC in the 1980s



Marushin  Mauser M712
A wooden holster using a hook and lock system

A close look of the pistol showing the fine details. All parts are movable.


Marushin Mauser  M712 pistol with wooden holster attached

Marushin, apart from making the Mauser M712 using alloy and plastic in the late 1980s, also manufactured an assembled model of Mauser M712 using alloy metal only. The outlook of this pistol is the same as the plastic M712 as introduced in my blog dated 3th August 2019 except that it is gold color plated. In this full metal version, the spent cartridges could still be ejected despite the heavy weight of the metal slide. Another different feature is that it has a wooden grip. Also, as an optional accessory, a wooden holster can be attached to its grip to make the pistol working like a rifle. This wooden holster, using a hook and lock system, can be fitted to the grip nicely thanks to the precision manufacturing skill of the model gun maker.

MGC Mauser Model 1916


MGC in early 1980s also made a full metal Mauser pistol, it was the Model 1916, using metal alloy only. But this model has no firing selection mode and thus has only semi-automatic function. Also, the ammunition input method is restrictive: it can only be loaded from the top of the pistol because there is no detectable magazine as the Mauser M712. Its grip is made of plastic. Although a wooden holster could be bought as an optional accessory which can be fixed to the gun’s grip, the locking system is not authentic. It uses a screwing system to connect the pistol’s grip to the wooden holster instead of using a hook and lock system as seen in the M712 made by Marushin.

MGC Mauser pistol  Model 1916 with a wooden holster attached



The wooden holster for Model 1916. Note the big round screw
Cartridges are loaded into the magazine from the top