Saturday, April 02, 2005

Aichi World Expo 2005 : "Japan's expo of contradictions"

A stimulating presentation of the ambivalence of the
2005 Aichi Expo :


By Cem Ozturk

NAGOYA - Two green plant-like cartoon creatures of
Japan's long-lost natural woodlands, Kiccoro, the
"Forest Child", and Morizo, the "Forest Grandfather" -
cute and ubiquitous official mascots - are overrunning
the 2005 World Exhibition, known as Expo 2005, dedicated
to "Nature's Wisdom". That wisdom, however, has been
thwarted and perverted with concrete coastlines,
cemented riverbeds, concrete and ironclad hillsides and
man-planted commercial forests that afflict many
Japanese with tearful pollen allergies. They - perhaps
as many as a third of the population - could be weeping
for Japan.

Click the title to access Asia Times article./.

East China sea gas : Japan ready to full scale drilling

Japan will prepare to grant exploratory drilling rights
in disputed waters of the East China Sea adjacent to
where China hopes to launch full-scale drilling for
natural gas, industry minister Shoichi Nakagawa said

His comments came on the heels of an announcement that
the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has
completed a geophysical survey that found that the two
natural gas reserves China is currently developing
extend into Japan's exclusive economic zone.

Unless Beijing releases data on the deposits it is
tapping, Japan will conduct its own test drilling for
oil and gas, he said.

The minister said: "We want China to suspend drilling.
We have repeatedly and politely requested China to
release data (on the reserves) so that we can seek a
cooperative solution (to issues) in these waters."

Nakagawa's remarks are the latest development in Japan's
ongoing disputes with China, South Korea and Russia over
rights to develop undersea oil and gas fields.

In particular, Tokyo and Beijing -- the second- and
third-largest consumers of energy in the world,
respectively -- have clashed often, as energy prices

"If China does not respond in good faith to our
requests, we must proceed to the next step," Nakagawa

Tokyo will wait "about one week" after notifying China
of its survey results, then prepare to designate areas
for drilling, he said.

Japan has no exploratory vessel of its own. It
chartered a seismic ship from Norway in July 2004 for
its geophysical survey to determine if the undersea
natural gas reserves China is tapping, roughly halfway
between Okinawa Prefecture and China, extend into waters
claimed by Japan.

Chinese Coast Guard ships approached the exploratory
vessel, sending it repeated radio warnings and nearly
colliding with it at one point, according to Nakagawa.

METI officials said test-drilling at one location in the
disputed region would cost at least 3 billion yen. They
said the government plans to shoulder all costs for
exploration companies due to the high economic risks.

"This is not a project that private businesses can carry
out alone," a ministry official said. "The government
will entrust those companies to test-drill in the sea

It could be months before Japanese firms begin
exploration, the officials said.

Several companies have already applied to do the
test-drilling, according to the officials.

JY & Information from Kyodo added

Friday, April 01, 2005

Japan plans satellites monitoring

Japan Education, Science and Technology ministry plans
to launch a group of satellites in fiscal 2012 to
monitor earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic activity and
other geological events in the Asia-Pacific region.

The group comprises four radar satellites and a
geostationary satellite, which would circle the Earth at
an altitude of between 600 and 1,000 kilometers and
36,000 kilometers, respectively.

If a natural disaster occurs, the radar satellites could
send images of the disaster area within three hours, the
official said. The ministry will announce the plan as
"a part of Japan's contribution to minimize damage
caused by natural disasters, such as the recent large
quakes off Sumatra, at the Asia-Pacific Regional Space
Agency Forum set for October in Kitakyushu."

The radar satellites are designed to emit electric waves
and produce an image of the Earth's surface from the
reflection of the waves. This system works at night or
in rain.

end of quotes

Thursday, March 31, 2005

China & South Korea opposed to Japan UN Security Council seat

JAPAN'S UN BID", 2005-03-29) reported that grassroots
ROK and PRC opposition to Japan's bid for a permanent
seat on the UN Security Council is growing fast.

In ROK, 24 civic groups, including the Young Korean
Academy, the Dokdo Resident in Seoul Association, Korean
YMCA and Transparency International declared at an event
at the Young Korean Academy auditorium Monday the start
of a signature campaign against Tokyo's bid for a
permanent council seat.

Meanwhile, the PRC's Xinhua News Agency reported that as
of Tuesday 9 million Chinese had signed up to an online
campaign opposing Japan's ambitions for permanent
Security Council membership, and the number was likely
to rise to 10 million.

East Asia quest for oil and gas

2005-03-29) reported that when Japan commissions a
survey of what is hidden below the contested waters of
the East China Sea, the PRC coast guard ships treat the
surveyors as spies, radioing warnings to leave and
shadowing the ship for days on end.

In days of sharply higher energy prices, long-dormant
border disputes have suddenly come alive for Japan, the
world's second-largest energy-consuming nation after the
US. In talks in Tokyo on Monday between Japan and the
PRC, the world's second- and third-largest oil
consumers, Japanese negotiators again demanded that the
PRC share its drilling data or drop the project, news
agencies reported. The PRC side rejected the demands
and repeated an earlier proposal for a joint venture.

end of quotes

Sunday, March 27, 2005

France fears 'omnigooglisation' !

The question is : how future generations conceive the
world with the anglo saxon eye, or is it an other French
way to censure the world public from Internet access and
the raw news it contains?

Waiting for the Froggle engine research...

quotes :

French President Jacques Chirac has vowed to launch a
new "counter-offensive" against American cultural
domination, enlisting the support of the British, German
and Spanish governments in a multi-million euro bid to
put the whole of European literature online.

Seeking help: Chirac wants Europe to join fight against
Google-Print project. The president was reacting this
month to news that the American search-engine provider
Google is to offer access to some 15 million books and
documents currently housed in five of the most
prestigious libraries in the English-speaking world.

The realisation that the "Anglo-Saxons" were on the
verge of a major breakthrough towards the dream of a
universal library seriously rattled the cultural
establishment in Paris, raising again the fear that
French language and ideas will one day be reduced to a
quaint regional peculiarity.

Chirac has met with Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de
Vabres and National Library president Jean-Noel
Jeanneney and asked them "to analyse the conditions
under which the collections of the great libraries in
France and Europe could be put more widely and more
rapidly on the Internet".

"In the weeks to come, the president will launch
initiatives in the direction of his European partners in
order to propose ways of coordinating and amplifying
efforts in this field," a statement said.

"A vast movement of digitalisation of knowledge is
underway across the world. With the wealth of their
exceptional cultural heritage, France and Europe must
play a decisive part. It is a fundamental challenge for
the spread of knowledge and the development of cultural

France fears 'omnigooglisation' will change perception
of the world and history It was Jeanneney who alerted
Chirac to the new challenge. In an article in the French
daily Le Monde, France's chief librarian conceded that
the Google-Print project, with its 4.5 billion pages of
text, will be a boon to researchers and a long-awaited
chance for poor nations to get access to global

But he went on: "The real issue is elsewhere. And it is
immense. It is confirmation of the risk of a crushing
American domination in the definition of how future
generations conceive the world.

"The libraries that are taking part in this enterprise
are of course themselves generously open to the
civilisations and works of other countries .... but
still, their criteria for selection will be profoundly
marked by the Anglo-Saxon outlook," he said.

Jeanneney drew as an example the 1989 celebrations to
mark the two hundredth anniversary of the French
revolution - which he himself was personally in charge
of. It would have been "deleterious and detestable" for
the image of France if the only texts popularly
consulted around the world for an interpretation of the
revolution were English-language ones, he said.

"It would have meant The Scarlet Pimpernel triumphing
over Ninety-three (Victor Hugo's eulogistic account of
the revolution); valiant British aristocrats triumphant
over bloody Jacobins; the guillotine concealing the
rights of man and the shining ideas of the Convention,"
he said.

Fear of American cultural hegemony has been a constant
of French policy since the first sticks of chewing gum
arrived during World War II.

The all-pervasive nature of the internet makes
protectionism impossible The country's instinctive
reaction has been protectionist, and today France
maintains a complex web of laws and subsidies to defend
its film, music and publishing industries. Only a few
voices are ever raised to argue that protectionism can
lead to introverted mediocrity.

But in the battle over what the French press has dubbed
omnigooglisation, protectionism is not an option. The
all-pervasive nature of the internet makes any attempt
to freeze out a competitor impossible. Which leaves no
alternative, Jeanneney said, but to "counter-attack".

France in fact already has a minuscule version of the
Google initiative already in hand. The Gallica project
has put some 80,000 works and 70,000 images on-line, and
is soon to make available the BNF's stock of 19th
century newspapers.

But the programme's budget is less than one thousandth
of the USD 200 million that the US corporation is
prepared to spend.

So Chirac has decided to turn to Europe in the hope that
an alliance of nations can find the finance and
will-power to fight back. With his belief in the
so-called multipolar world, it is exactly the sort of
mission that he believes Europe is ordained to carry

Donnedieu de Vabres is to meet in April with experts
from several EU countries, and in May Chirac himself
will outline his ideas at a European culture week in

end of quotes