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Japanese News: July week 2 (終)

Introduction

This week’s post is very short, only two topics, and it will be the last post in the section “Japanese News”… The reason why I stop is that I think this exercise already bore its fruits. I started it to help me read the news, and it worked better than I could say:

  • Studying articles on my blog improved my reading comprehension (when I started doing this exercise, reading a political article was really scary and I usually understood nothing unless I studied it sentence by sentence).
  • Posting every Friday forced me to be regular and read the news, if not every day, several times a week. More than the study part, I think that the regularity the blog forced me into is what helped me the most.
  • I learnt a lot of English words too (to be honest, the real challenge of the Friday post was often more English than Japanese! It is not easy to write about politics in English…)

But now, I have reached a point where writing this post takes me more time than actually reading the news articles and trying to understand them. I am far from reading the news fluently of course, and I will continue reading Mainichi every day. However, not writing this post will allow me to save time for other activities, like watching films or dramas. I would like to diversify the ways I learn Japanese, and my Friday post will certainly be devoted to that (I still have a week to think of the shape it will take!)

豪雨

This week was marked by the torrential rain (豪雨・ごうう) that stroke Japan last weekend. The first articles on this topic were tagged 大雨, but it was soon replaced by 豪雨 and the number of victims dramatically increased every day. The casualties caused by the rain were accompanied by landslides (土砂崩れ・どしゃくずれ) and inundation (氾濫・はんらん).

It is the first time in Heisei that torrential rain causes so many casualties in such a short period:

死者が100人を超したのは短期間の豪雨としては平成に入って初めてだ。安否が不明な人も多く、各自治体が出した避難勧告・指示の対象は最大で約863万人にのぼった。(source)

  • 安否・あんぴ: safety
  • 避難・ひなん: evacuation, taking refuge
  • 勧告・かんこく: advice, counsel, recommendation
    • 避難勧告・ひなんかんこく: official advice to evacuate

Abe cancelled his official trip to Europe that was to take place from July 11th to 18th and underlined the priority of rescuing people. He said on Saturday:

“人命第一の方針の下、救助部隊を遅滞なく投入し被災者の救命救助に全力を尽くしていただきたい.” (source)

  • 救助部隊・きゅうじょぶたい: a rescue squad
  • 遅滞なく・ちたいなく: without delay, immediately
  • 投入・とうにゅう: here: to send (a unit)
  • 被災者・ひさいしゃ: the victims
  • 救命・きゅうめい: lifesaving
  • 救助・きゅうじょ: rescue
  • 全力を尽くす・ぜんりょくをつくす: make an all-out effort

The last report I saw (today, Friday) announced 189 dead, while around 7000 persons are still unable to return to their house.

Execution of Aum members: why now?

Concerning the execution of 7 members of Aum cult, Minister of Justice, Yoko KAMIKAWA, said:

“命を奪われた被害者、ご遺族らの恐怖、苦しみ、悲しみは想像を絶する。慎重にも慎重な検討を重ねて執行を命令した.”

However, she did not give explanations concerning the date (why now?) and the choice of inmates to be executed (13 members of the cult were sentenced to death, 7 were executed).

During the press conference she gave to announce the execution of the 7 members, she was asked questions like “なぜ今の時期なのか?”, “対象はどうやって選んだのか?” or “執行されなかった6人の精神的な不安をどう考えるのか?” but she remained silent on these points. (source)

Concerning the choice made by the Ministry of Justice about who will be and who will not be executed, the lawyer of two of the members who were executed points out:

“松本死刑囚と他の死刑囚には責任に大きな差があるのに、同時に執行するのは間違いだ”

and

“執行された7人と残された6人の境界線もあいまいで理解しがたい”

Given that the degree of responsibility between Matsumoto and the others was different, it was an error to execute them at the same time. It is hard to understand what separates the 7 that have been executed to the 6 that have not.

Concerning the date of the execution, this article points out that the case happened during the Heisei Era and therefore, was to be finalised during Heisei. The title of the article is explicit: 死刑執行、平成のうちに 改元契機「オウム総括」.

At the time when discussions were going on concerning the Emperor’s abdication and the new Era establishment, someone from the government had said:

“皇室会議以降、時計の針は動き始めた。平成に起きた最大の事件は平成のうちに区切りを付けるというのが命題となった.”

Though not acknowledged by the government, it seems that the desire to settle this before the new Era explains the date.

A woman, whose husband died during the subway attack, said that she was surprised when she learnt that the execution took place “突然だったので、びっくりしました.” (source).

The persons executed, however, anticipated their execution since they were transferred to other detention places earlier this year. One of them said “いつ執行されるか分からず、精神的に不安になっている.” (source)

That’s it!

I am looking forward to next Friday, and I am excited to look for other materials to learn Japanese in different ways!

Thank you for having read the “Japanese News” posts for so long!

2 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed your Japanese News posts and I am actually planning to start creating similar posts here and on my instagram that are inspired by what you’ve posted here. I’m glad you mentioned that you feel that doing these has helped you with reading the news, considering how long it took you to write the posts because my concern was similar. Reading one article takes me about 30 minutes and to understand it takes about another 30. Plus 12-20 minutes of “translation” aka wording it naturally in English. It takes a while, but I feel that it’s important.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it really helped me even if it is very time consumming. But I think that to really progress in reading difficult contents like political news, one needs to really dive into it. The Japanese News posts forced me to make an effort to clarify and understand what was difficult. Sometimes, it was only when I was translating a passage in English that I realised I didn’t quite understand it the first time! Good luck and thank you!

      Like

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