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Japanese News: June week 4

Politician criticises the press

Let’s start this post with a shocking statement by Taro ASO, who is both Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

Seeing that the LDP had received high support among people under 30 during previous elections, he used this result to criticise the press. He said: “一番新聞を読まない世代だ。読まない人は全部自民党(の支持)だ.”

To me, this is a strange way to attack the press. I guess that he wants to criticise the newspapers which, like Mainichi, make a lot of reports about political scandals and point out the problems of the government. Young people who don’t read newspapers are not “corrupted” by them, or at least, I think that this is the core of the message. But it is then easy to reply, as did a member of the communist party:

“新聞を読んで真実が伝われば自民党支持にならないというのは、ある意味でその通りだ” (source)

The most shocking part is that Aso says that people should not read newspapers:

“新聞(の購読者増)に協力なんかしない方がいいよ。新聞販売店の人には悪いけど、つくづくそう思った.”

  • 購読・こうどく: buying (a book or a magazine) and reading it
  • つくづく: really, keenly, deeply, profoundly, (think) from the bottom of one’s heart

IR Bill or Integrated Resorts Enabling Act

I would like to familiarise myself with the actual discussions around the casino reform. The problem is that it is hard to find clear and easy to read articles about it. I have tried to read this editorial, but I cannot understand everything in it.

Instead of just giving up understanding the IR Bill and move to another topic, I will use this article to learn at least some casino-related vocabulary. There will certainly be other articles on this topic when the bill is passed, and it will be useful then.

First of all, we are talking about “解禁” (かいきん) casinos. Gambling is banned in Japan, and the reform will “remove the ban” on casinos.

Another word that we need to know is 賭ける・かける which means “to bet”, “to gamble”. When talking about the stakes or the money bet, we find the word 賭け金・かけきん.

The point discussed in the editorial is about the “moneylending business” or 貸金業・貸金業. This is where I get confused because I didn’t even know that such a thing exists. I think that there are some kinds of “casino credits”, but I don’t know exactly how it works.

As we talk about moneylending, we also find words like:

  • 借入金・かりいれきん: a loan, borrowed money
  • 貸付・かしつけ, also written 貸し付け: a loan
  • 貸し付ける・かしつける: to lend, to loan

The problem with moneylending in casinos is of course that it encourages gambling dependence. The word for “dependence” is 依存症・いぞんしょう and it can be used with the verb 生み出す・うみだす (to produce, to bring forth): 依存症を生み出す. Another expression that can be used is ギャンブルにのめり込んでいる. The verb のめり込む・のめりこむ means “get absorbed in, give oneself up to.”

Moneylenders take advantage of the fact that people who lose money want to bet again, in the hope of recovering their loss: 負けを取り返すためさらに賭ける.

  • 取り返す・とりかえす: get back, regain, recover.

Labour reform and 高プロ

Discussions are still going on about the Labour Reform, but it will certainly be approved during this Diet session (that has been extended until the end of July).

The more I read about the 高プロ, the more confused I am. From what I understand (but of course, I may be mistaken), the 高プロ’s principle is to remunerate the employees concerned on the basis of their results instead of the time spent working. As a consequence, the overtime will not be paid, which is, in itself, a problem. But nothing states clearly in the text that the remuneration should be raised according to the results. At least, this is what I understand from two critics by members of the opposition:

“法案には、どこにも書いていない。頑張った人が2倍、3倍の成果を出しても処遇する制度になっていない.” (source)

and

“成果に基づいて給与が高くなるなんて委員会では確認されていない.” (same source)

Anyway, a new protest took place in front of the Diet against the 高プロ. This protest took place because:

“働き方改革関連法案が参院厚生労働委員会で強行採決される可能性がある.”

I don’t understand what is exactly “厚生労働委員会”. I know that it is one of the committees at the Diet, but don’t ask me what it is exactly. Same for 強行採決・きょうこうさいけつ. It seems to be a possibility for the majority to stop the discussions and vote a bill even if they did not get the consent of the minority or something like that.

There were only between 100 and 200 hundred persons holding signs stating “過労死許すな” or “残業代ゼロ法案やめろ.”

Several persons spoke against the 高プロ, saying things like “高プロが導入されれば働かされ放題になる” or criticising the government:

“政府は相変わらず過労死の問題に向き合わない。この法案は働く人の権利と尊厳に思いをいたせない人たちが作った法案です”

  • 向き合う・むきあう: confront, meet face to face
  • 尊厳・そんげん: dignity

Update: the labour reform bill was enacted into law today (Friday 29th).

Politician criticises women who don’t want children

I found this on NHK and I hope that the links won’t break as it sometimes happens.

The statement was made by Toshihiro NIKAI (二階俊博) who is secretary general of the LDP.

  • 二階幹事長: にかいかんじちょう: secretary general Nikai

To combat the declining birthrate (少子化・しょうしか) and the decreasing population (人口減少・じんこうげんしょう), Toshihiro NIKAI criticised women who don’t want children and judged their attitude selfish. He said:

“食うや食わずで、戦中戦後、そういう時代に、じゃあ『子どもを産んだら大変だから、子どもを産まないようにしようか』と、そんなことを言った人はない。このごろね、『子どもを産まない方が、幸せに送れるんじゃないか』というふうに、勝手なことを自分で考えてね.”

  • 食うや食わず・くうやくわず is an expression to say “at the edge of starvation”, “at the bare subsistence level”.

It is long but not difficult. Nikai said that, during and after the War, when people had barely enough to eat, nobody was thinking “having children is difficult, I won’t have any”. But now, people think selfishly “I could be happier without children”.

He also added:

“この国の一員として、この船に乗っているのだから、お互いに。だからやっぱり、みんなが幸せになるためには、子どももたくさん産んで、そして国も栄えていくと、発展していくという方向へ行くように、みんながしようじゃないか.”

  • 栄える・さかえる: to prosper

I think that the お互いに refers to the fact that you raise children and they will pay your pension later. He says that, as a citizen of the country, people all share the same boat. To be happy, women should have a lot of children and people should participate in the development and flourishment of the country.

Of course, this statement was criticised. A member of the opposition called it “おっさん政党という印象だ.” and someone else added:

特定の家族観や考え方を押しつけるというのは、時代遅れというか、時代錯誤、自民党が非常に古いなということをあらわした発言ではないか.

  • 特定・とくてい: specification, designation, stipulation
  • 押し付ける・おしつける: force on
  • 時代遅れ・じだいおくれ: out of date, behind the times
  • 時代錯誤・じだいさくご: anachronism

A member of the Constitutional Democratic Party (立憲民主党・りっけんみんしゅとう) also criticised Nikai, saying “女性の人権を無視した発言だ.”

She also added:

『産めよ、増やせよ』の時代に戻りたいのか。多様性や個人の選択、女性の人権などを無視した発言で、単なる失言ではなく、本質的なところを理解していない.

She says that such a statement that disregards women’s rights, is not a simple inappropriate remark (失言・しつげん) but shows that Nikai does not understand some essential points.

Japan will go to the knock-out round!

On Thursday, Japan lost its last game of the group H against Poland. As a result, at the end of the group phase, both Senegal and Japan have the same number of points (4), the same difference of goals (0), the same total number of goals (4) and their direct match was a draw. To determine which of them will join Colombia to advance to the knock-out phase, we have to look at the number of yellow cards. Japan has fewer than Senegal, so they win!

この結果、日本はセネガルと勝ち点4、得失点差0、総得点4で並び、直接対決も引き分けだったが、警告数の少なさで2位となり、2010年南アフリカ大会以来、2大会ぶり3度目の1次リーグ突破が決まった. (source)

  • 勝ち点・かちてん: points given to each team according to the result of the game (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw). Both Senegal and Japan have 4.
  • 得失点差・とくしってんさ: a goal difference. Both Senegal and Japan have scored 4 goals and conceded 4 goals, so their goal difference is 0.
  • 総得点・そうとくてん: the total number of goals scored (it is confusing since they use 点 to say both “points” and “goals”). Both Japan and Senegal have scored 4 goals.
  • 直接対決・ちょくせつたいけつ: direct confrontation. In our context, this means the match Japan-Senegal. As both Japan and Senegal have similar results in terms of points and goals, we look at their direct confrontation to see who won… but this match was a draw.
  • 警告数・けいこくすう: number of warnings, that is, number of yellow cards, also called “fair play points”. Japan has 4 yellow cards and Senegal 6.

Japan goes to the knock-out phase for the first time since 2010 and the third time in their history.

That’s it! Have a nice weekend!

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