Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Japan's vanishing middle ranks ?

In recent Bungei Shunju magazine, author Yo Mizuki
forecasts that the disappearance of mid-ranked entities
will be one of the key themes of 2005, stating that this
will be a year not only of polarization but when the
middle ground between poles disappears.

In the socioeconomic realm, he says, those at the top
will accentuate their superiority, while those lacking
the necessary qualities will fall further behind.

In an article bringing together predictions in various
fields that Mizuki compiled with the help of over 30
experts, he asserts that raising the consumption tax and
revising the Constitution will be the focus of the
political world.

As Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi becomes increasingly
viewed as a "lame duck," says Mizuki, it will be left to
the next administration to resolve these issues one way
or the other.

Regarding legislation on postal privatization, the key
item on the agenda of the ordinary Diet session, Mizuki
states that Koizumi will likely push legislation through
even if the compromises needed to do so mean that it is
significantly watered down.

On the subject of Koizumi's successor, as there is an
overwhelming swell of opinion favoring the relatively
young Liberal Democratic Party Acting Secretary General
Shinzo Abe, Mizuki says that the clock will not turn
back to allow one of the "mezzanine" group of older LDP
lawmakers (so called because they are viewed as above
the party's ordinary Diet members but below its top
leaders) to take over.

This, he observes, is an example of the vanishing
middle. He states that the same phenomenon will occur in
the financial and industrial sectors as middle-ranking
companies positioned just below the leading firms

Mizuki asserts that the disappearance of mid-ranked
entities, which results from the survival of the fittest
caused by open competition, is a negative phenomenon
from the point of view of social stability in that it
causes growing dissatisfaction among the people, leading
to an increase in crime. (Foreign Press Center) 02/05

China Sciences data : Far beyond the noodle shop...

And the winners are:
(In English and in French)

Quotes :

China's top10 events in S&T progress have been chosen by
384 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and
the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE). The
announcement was made in a news release held on January
13 in Beijing.

1. China's fastest super computer, Dawning-4000A, was
put into commercial operation on Nov. 15, 2004 at the
Shanghai Supercomputer Center, acting as the largest
main node in the national grid.

Running at maximum speeds in excess of 10 trillion
operations per second, or 10 Tflops, the computer is
jointly developed by CAS Institute of Computing
Technology, the Dawning Corporation and the Shanghai
Supercomputer Center. It was completed in June and
ranked 10th on the list of the world's top
high-performance computers released that month.

Its official inauguration signifies that China has
become the third country, after the US and Japan, that
could build high-performance super-computer with such a
high speed in the world.

2. The No.2 reactor of the second-phase project at the
Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant officially started
commercial operation in May 2004, marking the full-load
operation of the China's first nuclear power station
independently developed by Chinese engineers. It means a
giant stride forward for China from the manufacture of
small-sized prototypes of nuclear generators to the
successful construction of large-capacity nuclear power
plants for commercial use by relying on its own
technological strengths.

With a total investment of about 15 billion yuan (or
US$1.8 billion), the phase-2 project consists of two
units of China-made 600Mw pressurized water reactors. It
service life would be 40 years.

3. The 4,000-kilometer-long pipeline for the
cross-country transmission of natural gas has officially
gone into its commercial operation since December 30,

The main energy artery links the hydrocarbon-rich
hinterland of the country with the currently booming
coastal regions centered at Shanghai and other
power-thirsty big cities in east China. Its chief
supplier is the Tarim gas field in Xinjiang Uygur
Automnomous Region, whose exploitable reserve is 229
billion cubic meters, the largest natural gas trove in
the country.

By pumping a ceaseless flow of natural gas at the
west-to-east direction into the booming regional
economies in coastal China, the imbalance in the power
layout throughout the country is alleviated. The natural
gas transmission project is a landmark pipelining work
as well as a mammoth engineering feat rarely seen in the
world today. A subsidiary program to the current
national campaign for promoting the development of the
underdeveloped western China, it has a designed capacity
of 12 billion cubic meters per year.

4. A state-of-the-art Internet backbone, the Cernet-2,
was launched in late December 2004. The successful
inauguration of the first backbone network of the
latest-generation Internet is expected to dramatically
narrow the gap between China and world's leading
countries in this aspect.

Connecting 20 cities throughout the country based on a
pure Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) technology, the
Cernet-2 is the biggest next-generation Internet network
in operation in the world. The speed of the backbone
network could reach 2.5-10 gigabits per second and it
can connect the campuses at a speed up to 1-10 gigabits
per second.

5. The second satellite of the Geospace Double Star
Program (DSP), the polar spacecraft TC-2, was launched
on July 25, 2004, signalizing the successful operation
of the program.

As being suggested by its name, the DSP involves two
satellites. The first one, the equatorial spacecraft
TC-1, had blasted off on December 30, 2003. Both of them
are designed, developed, launched and operated by
Chinese scientists, including those from the CAS Center
for Space and Applied Research.

The two DSP satellites orbit in some important and
active regions of the magnetosphere, which have been
never covered by any geospace satellites in the current
international exploration programs.

Together with the four ESA orbiters in the Cluster
Program, China's duality mission will be thrusting into
six uncharted spaces of the magnetosphere. In this way,
the data-sampling activity under the Sino-EC partnership
will be expanded to a wider and more panoramic coverage
than either side could do ever before.

6. Reversible transition of nano-materials between
Super-hydrophobicity and Super-hydrophilicity. A group
of researchers from the CAS Institute of Chemistry have
been successful in reversible switching between
super-hydrophobicity and super-hydrophilicity by
changing temperature and light. Their work was published
in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. (2004, 43, 357) and J. Am.
Chem. Soc. (2004,126, 1, 62). The work has been reported
by Science and Nature.

The CAS chemists show that they can reversibly switch a
surface from being superhydrophilic to being
superhydrophobic with a very small change in
temperature. On its own, poly (N-isopropylacrylamide)
will switch from being hydrophilic to being mildly
hydrophobic when the temperature is raised from 25 to
40¡ãC. At the lower temperatures, the C=O and N-H groups
are partnered by water molecules, and intermolecular
hydrogen bonding dominates; when the temperature is
raised, intramolecular hydrogen bonding takes over,
ejecting the water molecules, and the chains adopt a
more compact form. The researchers enhanced this
transition by depositing the polymer onto patterned
silicon substrates. As the pattern size was decreased
(finer grooves), they observed an increase in the range
of contact angles achieved on switching. Detailed
investigation of the substrate showed a large fraction
of irregular nanoparticles produced by sputtering from
neighboring regions and thus a very large surface area.

The scientists also prove that remarkable surface
wettability transition occurs with an inducement of
ultraviolet (UV) for aligned ZnO nanorod films. The
inorganic oxide films, which show super-hydrophobicity,
become super-hydrophilic when exposed to UV
illumination. After the films are placed in the dark,
the wettability evolves back to super-hydrophobicity.
This reversible effect is ascribed to the cooperation of
the surface photosensitivity and the aligned
nanostructure. Such special property will greatly extend
the applications of ZnO films.

7. Chinese scientists succeed in developing a
high-precision underwater global position system (GPS)
and its main functions are believed to be up to the
advanced level of the world today.

The underwater GPS equipment, apart from performing the
conventional functions for subaquatic detection and
submarine search, is capable of piloting or positioning
underwater objects in real time.

The success signals China's accession to the top-ranking
status in contemporary world's underwater GPS
technology, only next to the US, France, Germany and a
few countries in the mastery of such an advanced
technique. Practical tests conducted at an artificial
freshwater lake Qiandaohu in Zhejiang Province indicate
that, at a depth less than 45m, the gear's horizontal
positioning accuracy is within 5cm and its depth
precision is 30cm.

The system is composed of four buoys and a GPS detector
for collecting sounds and positioning data from a hidden
body beneath the water surface.

8. A membrane protein exposed by Chinese scientists as
the major light-harvesting complex in the photo-system
II (LHC-II), which serves as the principal solar energy
collector in the photosynthesis of all green plants.

In collaboration with researchers from the CAS Institute
of Botany, a research group at the CAS Institute of
Biophysics succeeds in determining the crystalline
structure of the complex from spinach by revealing the
first X-ray structure of LHC-II in the world in an
icosahedral proteoliposome assembly in detail at the
atomic level. Their paper was published as a research
highlight on the March 18 issue of the journal NatureIhe
work is a key breakthrough in the six-year-long studies
into photosynthesis in the capacity of a major
achievement scored by the on-going national Knowledge
Innovation Program spearheaded by the CAS.

9. CAS scientists at the University of Science and
Technology of China in Hefei have been succeeded for the
first time in the world in entangling five photons and
demonstrating a process called "open-destination

As reported in the July 1 issue of Nature, the results
are spoken highly in the international community of
physics as a major breakthrough in efforts to exploit
the laws of quantum mechanics in quantum information

With the support from the national knowledge innovation
program piloted by CAS, national basic research priority
program and National Natural Science Foundation of
China, the researchers began their work by producing a
high intensity and ultra-stable source of entangled
photons. Next they used two entangled pairs of photons
to generate a four-photon entangled state, which they
then combined with a single-photon state. After
three-year hard work, they are finally able to produce a
five-photon entangled state by detecting the coincidence
of five photons.

The experimental demonstration has profound
implications. First, the experiment has demonstrated the
ability to manipulate five-particle entanglement, which
is the threshold number of qubits required for universal
error correction. Second, the realization of
open-destination teleportation opens up new
possibilities for distributed quantum information
processing. Last, the techniques developed in the
present experiment enable experimental investigations of
a number of quantum protocols.

10. The first discovery of more-than-10 km- thick
Mesozoic strata in deep waters of the South China Sea
marks a major breakthrough in off-shore investigation of
the hydrocarbon trove in China's territorial waters.

In the latest round of the off-shore investigation
beneath the marine territories under Chinese
jurisdiction, 38 sedimentary basins with estimated 35.1-
40.4 billion tons of oil equivalent have been
pinpointed, including 11 seaside oil-bearing structures
home to 21.3-24.5 billion tons of oil equivalent in an
initial estimate.

In the northern slopes of the continental shelf under
the South China Sea, a series of geophysical clues have
been detected as evidence to the existence of natural
gas hydrate. In the Xisha Sea Trough alone, the
prospective reserves are estimated at 4.55 billion tons
of oil equivalent. The discovery will play a critical
role in China's energy exploitation and sustainable
development of its national economy.

Les dix grandes realisations scientifiques et technologiques chinoises de
l'annee 2004

1. Le lancement commercial du super-ordinateur Dawning-4000A, d'une
puissance de calcul de 10 Tflops (10 trillions d'operations par seconde). Ce
super-ordinateur, le plus rapide en Chine, est realise par l'Institute of
Computing Technology de la CAS, la Dawning Corporation et le Shanghai
Supercomputer Center ;
2. Le reacteur nucleaire numero 2 de la seconde phase de la centrale de
Qinshan, entierement developpe par des ingenieurs chinois ;
3. Le pipeline de 4000 kilometres pour le transport de gaz naturel de
l'ouest (champ petrolifere du Tarim au Xinjiang) vers l'est (Shanghai) ;
4. L'inauguration de CERNET2, premier backbone network de la derniere
generation d'Internet IPv6 ;
5. Le lancement du second satellite TC-2 du programme Double Star avec l'ESA
6. La transition reversible de nano-materiaux entre l'etat super-hydrophobe
et l'etat super-hydrophile (switch reversible) realisee par un groupe de
chercheurs de l'Institut de chimie de la CAS a Pekin;
7. Le developpement du systeme de positionnement sous-marin base sur le GPS
de haute precision par la Chinese Academy of Surveying and Mapping et la
China Shipbuilding Industry Corp.;
8. Le decodage de la structure d'une proteine membranaire LHC-II du
photo-systeme II, par un groupe de chercheurs de l'Institut de biophysique
de la CAS en collaboration avec les chercheurs de l'Institut de botanique de
la CAS a Pekin ;
9. La premiere realisation de l'intrication quantique de cinq photons et la
demonstration d'un procede appele "open-destination teleportation" par des
scientifiques de l'Universite de science et technologie de Chine a Hefei ;
10. La decouverte d'une strate mesozoique d'une epaisseur de 10 km dans les
profondeurs de la mer de Chine du Sud, interessante pour l'investigation de
ressources en hydrocarbure.

Sources : Academie des Sciences de Chine,

End of quotes


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Apologize! Koreans tell to Japan

Good neighbors? Really?

SK president Roh finally learned from his predecessor
the game of "ame to muchi". Waiting for Japan
Parliament to adopt, finally..., an official declaration
of apologies for colonization and war events provoked
by its Imperial army.

Quotes :

"South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has asked Japan to
apologize and consider paying compensation for its
colonizing of the Korean peninsula last century. Japan
has expressed regret for its actions before and during
World War II, but Mr Roh said Japan should make a formal
apology. "South Korea and Japan should be reborn as good
neighbours," Mr Roh said.

Ties between the countries have warmed in recent years,
but a new row over disputed islands has stirred
tensions. "Japan must make the truth of the past known
and offer sincere apologies and, if necessary, pay
compensation. Only then can we be reconciled," said Mr
Roh in a speech to mark the anniversary of a 1919
uprising against Japanese colonialists. "Japan should
take a more positive attitude with a belief that before
it is a legal issue, this is an issue of universal
ethics in a human society and a matter of trust between
neighbours," he said, indicating that Tokyo should
follow the example of Germany.

Japan colonized the Korean peninsula 1910-45. Forced
about 200,000 Asian women to work as sex slaves. Seoul
complains Japanese text books whitewash history. The
Japanese government argues that any reparations were
dealt with under post-war peace treaties. But newly
released details of those treaties have only enraged
South Korean public opinion further. In January, Seoul
declassified documents revealing that South Korea's
post-war government agreed to accept an $800m economic
package as reparations from Japan when the two countries
established diplomatic ties in 1965.

Two other issues continue to dog reconciliation efforts.
Groups of South Korean women are still seeking
compensation from Japan for being forced to work in
Japanese brothels before and during the war, and
disputed territory is also a sensitive issue. Anger
flared after Japanese ambassador to Seoul, Toshiyuki
Takano, said last week that the Dokdo islets in the Sea
of Japan (East Sea) - known as Takeshima in Japan -
"historically and legally" belong to Japan. Despite the
historic sores, relations have slowly been improving
between the two nations in recent years.

In 2002, South Korea and Japan jointly hosted the World
Cup, and cultural ties are also increasing - a South
Korean soap opera called The Winter Sonata has many avid
fans in Japan."

End of quotes./

An expensive fabricated serial attempt to reconcile,
masterminded by advertising agencies laymen dealing with
politics during the celebrations of the Japan Korea

Hazardous views on Constitution : think clean LDP says

How to translate freedom into Japanese language? Read
the LDP dictionnary publication first... Who said
nationalism was a rising value in the archipelago? The
interesting is that the article seems not to disagree!?!

Quotes :

"A Liberal Democratic Party panel is considering
restricting such basic freedoms as that of assembly and
expression in its draft proposal for a new Constitution,
sources said Monday.

According to the sources, the idea was included in a
list of discussion points compiled by Hajime Funada, who
heads the subpanel of the LDP's constitutional drafting
committee in charge of studying issues related to the
rights and obligations of citizens.

The memo, submitted to the subcommittee Thursday, says,
"It should be permissible by law to restrict or ban the
publication or sale of books that have a detrimental
effect on young people's upbringing" -- an apparent
reference to obscene books or videos.

It also says "there should be restrictions on the
forming of associations whose aim is to gravely damage
the state or social order."

Further, the paper emphasizes the obligations of
citizens to defend the country, protect their families
and the environment, and respect life, even at the
expense of individual freedoms.

Concerning the current Article 20, which guarantees
freedom of religion and bans religious organizations
from receiving any privileges from the state or
exercising political authority, the memo said
authorities can be involved in Shinto ceremonies and
fund them from public coffers, "as they are not acts
that aim to support any particular religion and are
within the bounds of accepted social protocol."

This idea could pave the way for making visits by the
prime minister to war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo
constitutional. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's
repeated visits there, where Class-A war criminals are
also honored, have damaged bilateral ties with China and
other Asian neighbors.

According to a senior member of the subcommittee,
members generally agree with the views expressed in the

Meanwhile, another LDP subpanel proposed Monday that the
Constitution's preamble reflect Japanese history and the
national character of the Japanese people, party
lawmakers said.

This subcommittee, headed by former Prime Minister
Yasuhiro Nakasone, agreed that the new preamble should
be written in 500 to 600 characters to be memorized by
students as part of their compulsory education, the
lawmakers said.

The interim report calls for specifying Japan's vision
as a country, stipulating principles of pacifism and
international cooperation, they said.

The subcommittee plans to compile a draft of the new
preamble before mid-March.

The current Constitution, which took effect in May 1947,
was drafted by the U.S.-led Allied Occupation forces in
hopes of democratizing Japan and ensuring it would not
revive as a militarist state after the end of World War

The panel will compile a draft of the Constitution
revision bill by the end of April based on the
subcommittees' reports.

end of quotes

Ultrarightist smashes chief priest's windows

In Japan, 21st century, the Emperor's naming still
provokes radical views of secular world as this
astonishing article explains. If you quote the Imperial
family, it is better to call them "Their Majesties" if
you plan to send a carton for a holly or private

quotes :

"Ultra-rightist smashes chief priest's windows over royal

An ultra-rightist has been arrested for smashing windows
at the home of Meiji Jingu Shrine's chief priest on
Saturday, police said Monday.

Kohei Yokoyama, 40, a high-ranking member of a
right-wing organization, was taken into custody for
trespassing and destroying property after turning
himself in at a Tokyo police station on Sunday.

During questioning, Yokoyama expressed criticism of the
chief priest, 70-year-old Katsushi Toyama.

In his organization's newsletter, he criticized Toyama
for mistakenly calling Emperor Akihito and Empress
Michiko "Their Imperial Highnesses" instead of "Their
Majesties" on the invitation card of a ceremony at the
shrine attended by the Imperial Couple.

Police are grilling Yokoyama over the motives behind his

At around 2:50 p.m. on Saturday, Yokoyama sneaked into
the premises of Toyama's home in the Kinuta district of
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, and used a wooden sword to smash
three windows of the home, police said. Yokoyama and his
family members were away at the time of the incident,
and nobody was injured."

end of quotes