All posts tagged: politics

Japanese News: an overview of the week (an attempt)

Today, instead of studying one article, I would like to have an overview of the topical issues of the week. I think that it would be more interesting to look at a wide range of topics and vocabulary, instead of going deeply into one subject. The problem is that I don’t have a paying subscription to access a digital newspaper that would provide headlines. Instead, I use websites like NHK news or Asahi, but the continuous flow of articles makes it daunting to look for main information. The only solution would be to check the news every day and bookmark articles that I want to review. I am far from reading the news every day in Japanese, but this is something I would like to do (instead of “reading”, I should say looking blankly at articles’ titles and having no idea what they are talking about). Unfortunately, I have not been thorough in my reading the news resolution. I just isolated two main topics, but I don’t pretend to really do an overview of the …

Japanese News: Moritomo Gakuen scandal

Although it was one of the major political issues of last year, I have not read much in Japanese about the Moritomo Gakuen scandal. It is a complex story with difficult vocabulary, and the titles of the related articles have always discouraged me. I wanted to believe that this scandal was a last-year-thing and that I could skip studying it altogether. Alas for me, new developments have put the Moritome Gakuen in the headlines again and given the number of articles that have appeared on this subject, I am forced to admit that I can no longer avoid it. I will not study a specific article but focus on key vocabulary. Of course, the first thing I did was to pick up my Asahi Keywords and study the double-page devoted to the Morimoto Gakuen scandal. Context and Vocabulary Moritomo Gakuen “Moritomo Gakuen” is the name of a private “school corporation“. It has a very conservative education line and would, for example, include the reading of the Imperial Rescript on Education to its program. 森友学園・もりともがくえん: the …

Japanese News: the discretionary labour system

The last two articles I have studied were about sports, so I thought that it was time to return to more political subjects. As a consequence, even if I was tempted to study an article about the Tokyo Olympic mascots that have just been unveiled, I focused myself on another topical issue: the discretionary labour system that should have been part of Abe’s labour reform. The context: An important element of Abe’s labour reform was to expand the “discretionary labour system”, or in Japanese 裁量労働制・さいりょうろうどうせい. If you are unfamiliar with this system, (as I was before starting this post), you can have a look at this Japan Times article in English. To summarise, according to this system, the employer and the employee agree to a certain amount of working hours per day, and the employee will be paid according to this agreement, no matter if he worked more or less than what had been decided. To justify the necessity to expand this system, the government has used a survey provided by the Ministry of Health, …

Japanese News: North Korean in Pyeongchang

Some hours before the opening ceremony of Pyeongchang Olympics, I have chosen an article about North Korea’s delegation. Link to the article: “米側と会わない” 北朝鮮 米副大統領と接触の可能性否定 This article mainly tells us that the delegation sent by North Korea to Pyeongchang will not take the Olympics as an opportunity to meet with Vice President Mike Pence or other U.S. officials who attend the opening ceremony. Let’s have a look at some interesting words that can be used in other contexts: We know that North Korea sends a delegation to attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics. The verb to say “send” or “dispatch” is 派遣する・はけんする. This word is formal and used to say things like “dispatch an army” or “send a delegate”. But, used before a noun, it can take the meaning of “temporary”, with the idea that someone is dispatched temporarily somewhere to perform a task. For example, we can say “派遣社員・はけんしゃいん” which is a temporary worker from an agency. If a professor comes from another university to give conferences, he is a 派遣教授・はけんきょうじゅ, a visiting …

Japanese News: Changing article 9 of the Constitution? Discussions inside the LDP

The article I propose to study was published on NHK Yesterday: 憲法9条2項”の扱い 自民 党内意見集約に時間かかるか Political articles are by far the most difficult ones… Today, I want to try to study one and get more familiar with some political vocabulary that is bound to appear often in the news. I want to slowly broaden my vocabulary for politics, to be able to understand what an article is about by only looking at the title or having a quick glance at its contents. For example, knowing the word 憲法・けんぽう (Constitution) is enough to guess that this article is about the amendment of the Constitution. I have made a list of words that are necessary to understand this article and useful to read the political news in general: 憲法改正・けんぽうかいせい means “amendment of the Constitution”. This is a word that frequently appears in the news because revising the Constitution is one of Abe’s main goals. Directly related to the Constitutional revision is the 自衛隊の明記 or the “clear mention of the Self-Defence Force”. 明記・めいき: as the kanji suggest, this word means …

Japanese News: Emperor Akihito will retire on April, 30th 2019

You may have heard that a date was finally set last week for the abdication of Emperor Akihito. I think it is time for me to try reading political articles, but I will start with a very short one. Link to the article. (😲😨😱 As I check this link again, I realise that they completely changed the article in the meanwhile. When I studied it, it was a very short one… I am very sorry for that, but as this post is mainly focused on vocabulary, I think it is still okay…) This article published on Asahi does not bring much information but given that I can’t read the title, I think it is a good material to study some vocabulary. Let’s start with the title: 天皇陛下退位「2019年4月30日」 政令を閣議決定 To me, this is typically the kind of sentence that I can understand because I know the meaning of each kanji, but I could not possibly read it out loud with confidence. The only two words I already knew for sure are: 天皇・てんのう Emperor 決定・けってい decision (to say …