SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English

  • Hirakawa Hitoshi The 5th Asia Future Conference Roundtable Discussion “South-East Asian Culture and Religious Dialogues”

    We had two days roundtable discussions under the title “The South-East Asian Culture and Religious Dialogues” at the 5th Asia Future Conference at Bellevue Hotel Alabang, Metro Manila on January 10 and at University of the Philippines Los Banos on January 11, 2020.    As I have been interested in Asian economy and recent development of economies in newly developing area, I made a speech under the title “Social ethics and global economy”. So, I would like to comment on what I thought and felt at the roundtable discussions.    My understanding was very limited because of my English language skills and lack of knowledge about religion and societies in the South-East Asia. Therefore, the contents of the meeting are not introduced here. So you are requested to confirm the contents with the report by the chairman of the discussion session, Professor OGAWA Tadashi from Atomi University. I myself would like to know more deeply about economics, religions and social ethics once the reports will be issued officially.  I myself have found that economics today has a great impact on developing societies, yet their attention to them is extremely inadequate. The 2001 Nobel Prize winner in economics, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, describes the experience of his colleague, Professor Richard H. Thaler from the University of Chicago, that the perception of justice about economic behavior among students studying economics is far from the ordinary people.  According to his survey on pricing of shovels for shoveling after a storm, 82% of the general population answered that price increases were unfair, compared to just 24% of MBA students attending the University. The understanding of fairs in economics students is very different from that of social understanding. In fact, such cases are happening around us as a high-priced mask sale due to ongoing COVID 19. Professor Stiglitz sharply criticized that the economic affairs played a role in the collusion between wealthy people and politicians due to the widening income gap in American society.  The keynote speaker at the Roundtable, Professor Bernard M. Villegas, Vice President of Asia-Pacific University, addressed the issue that economics is less interested in social issues or selfishness. Professor Villegas, as an educator with a Ph.D. in economics along with his experience of around half a century summed up the discussion, saying that economics has expedited subdivision and quantization too much. He emphasized the elegance of mathematical formulas in the analysis of economic phenomena. He was objectively criticized for competing, emphasizing market independence, and eliminating justice, social responsibility of human beings, and consideration of national regulations. At the same time, he persuasively stated that he, himself, practiced his teaching of economics, being based on the results of various sciences, for solution of poverty in the Philippines saying economics is “social science”.    The report by Ms. Sister Mary John Mananzan of St. Scholastica University in the Philippines dealing with the feminization of poverty in the Philippines, the report by Mr. Somboon Chun Prampuri of the social participation Buddhist network reporting on the social ethics and globalization of Buddhism in Thailand, and the report by Jamhari Siswant, Dean of the Sharif Hidayatura State Islamic University, reported on the latest Islamic movements in Indonesia. These all reports addressed the current challenges of religious people in Southeast Asia.  Listening to those opinions, I wondered if economics which I know now can respond to such opinions or reports. Religious social activities are aimed at living human beings. They are directly involved in fighting various types of discrimination, including absolute poverty and gender discrimination, in various environments and conditions. Many social activities in Southeast Asia are aimed at liberation from poverty and sex discrimination.  Come to think of it, Economics sees society from a distinctly different perspective. Economics describes complex social relationships as a model of a simple abstract market, and considers that society can maximize "efficiency" through that market. The market here equates society with an unclear distinction between idea and reality. Moreover, in the current mainstream economics, the real world is captured through mathematical models, and other social sciences are excluded. Of course, economics has grown greatly now, and various models have been created to approach reality. The principle model has been modified.  But what if these economics apply to the developing world? Economists who write development prescriptions have little knowledge of developing societies, and the prescriptions thus made are policies through developed countries and international development organizations. In conclusion, such models can be said to have been founded on simple and philosophical market models. When a policy fails, its cause has been sought in the developing society itself. The response to the Asian currency crisis of 1997 is a good example.  I dare to say that there is no distinction in economics between economy and society.  In economic globalization, economics has been involved in the development of developing regions and forced developing countries to liberalize and privatize. The various contradictions which come from such enforcement have been imposed to the weak.  The story jumps a little, but the global financial crisis that hit the US subprime loan crisis in 2008, and the birth of US President Trump in 2017, are the consequences of the failure of policy promoted by liberal economics. Also, it is ironic that China, under the Communist Party's government, which seemed to be unsuccessful, achieved amazing development and growth. Is it a counterattack by actual societies against mainstream economics? Every society need rules. However, the economics of the past half century have broken down the rules of society, expanded the income gap, deepened social division, and deteriorated the economy and society by treating it as regulation. Isn't that attachment a democratic crisis both inside and outside the United States?  When I expressed my opinion, at round-table conference, saying that economics now think about welfare on the assumption of abstract “model.” Sister Mary Mananzan showed a nasty look which pierced my heart sharply.  The word "economics is science" also comes to mind. However, economics as a social science must be self-restraint regarding the application of abstract models to the real world, and policies need not be created in cooperation with various sciences. There are words “Economics is Science”. However, economics, as a social science, should be self-controlled when its abstracted models will be applied to actual societies and its policies must be decided in cooperation with various sciences. No matter how much economics claims academic superiority, it is only dogmatic and arrogant. In international development and poverty development, a restraint attitude may be required more urgently than ever before.  It is not wrong at all that economics is certainly valid for partial, local analysis and policy. However, when trying to apply it to a developing society, special caution and restraint are required. However, if we apply to developing societies, we have to be careful and self-controlled. I think it was around the Asian currency crisis, but I remember the anecdote that economists once learned of the history and societies of developing countries obscure decision-making by a former prominent American economist. I realized from this round table discussion about my relationship with society. I would like to continue my study hereafter “social ethics and global economy” and its relation with sustainable and joint development.  Lastly, I express my thanks to all the people who organized the round table discussions, Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas who made a keynote speech, Prof. T. Ogawa and Dr. Ranjana Mukopadhyaya, who chaired the discussions, Project Coordinator, Dr. Brenda Tenegra, Dr. Ferdinando C. Maquito and Dr. Sonya Dale who interpreted for me.  SGRA Kawaraban 624 in Japanese (Original)  Hitoshi Hirakawa / Professor emeritus, Nagoya University, Director of Atsumi International Foundation  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala  
  • Wu Xiaoxiao “Nagasaki , take action ! ”

     It was in the afternoon, when I arrived at Nagasaki. It has been raining on and off all day.  And, it was already after 19:30 when I arrived at hotel after finishing supper following visit to Dejima and the Oh-ura Cathedral. I had a plan to visit Inasa-yama (Mt. Inasa) first. However, my fatigue and rain made me being bewildered and tried to persuade myself to give up.  According to my checking on internet how to enjoy night view of Inasa-yama, people say “it is difficult to visit there without car”, or “recommend to use tour bus”.  Actually, I persuaded myself to give up saying “the number of public bus is limited”, “I have to worry about the way back to hotel at night”, “it will be possible tomorrow” and “it will be OK without enjoying night view” etc..  When did look I persuade myself to give up what I like to do or what I want to have before starting?  It becomes my fetters if I would examine and think beforehand too much. Or, I put off because there are too many things to do knowing that I have to do. I have to use bigger energy if I like to shift my idea to action. Or, if I cannot keep my promise due to my putting off, I would become “kana-shibari” (old hag syndrome) by sense of guilt and fear like an ostrich (burying it’s head in the sand while leaving other parts exposed). It is a vicious circle that lack of ability of taking action becomes bigger due to stress by my putting off and self-hatred.  It becomes clear that if I plan to go tomorrow, it would mean I do not go by 100%.  In conclusion, I left hotel having mobile map only (not following a route on network).  There is a Japanese word “houkou-onchi” (no sense of direction). There seems no relations between direction and the sense of hearing or space and sound. If we think of a metaphor “architecture is a frozen music”, I think it very exquisite expression.  I was turning around repeatedly on the same route, like from walking to streetcars, walking to bus, walking to ropeway, and I was heading to opposite directions.  Strange to say, my stress, fear or uneasiness, has been disappearing after leaving hotel.  When I got off ropeway, I heard a cheer from a distance and saw a lot of people moving at the foot of a mountain. It was a finishing of any concert. When lift doorsof the observation platform open, I could see a glorious view of the Nagasaki Port,which is long horizontally and folded with mountains. Shadow of the port on the sea-surface is very conspicuous. That’s the port Nagasaki ! It is the one of the best 3 night views in Japan. When I enjoyed such view and went to the elevator hall, I heard explosive sound and I could look back gigantic fireworks which was lighted from a vessel below. It was very exciting to see fireworks on the sea which continued for about twenty minutes. It was the first time for me to “look down” fireworks from above.    Once I take the first step, mind and body become lightened. And, once I keep walking, there would be nothing useless even if it may not be shortcut. If I take any action, everything would go better. Why do I take such action from the beginning ? There would be many reasons depending on people who are lacking of action. On the way back to hotel, I realized that if I think of too much what I would do, it is a reason of lacking of action. The more you think, the more you afraid of your failure. And you will have a negative image in your future. You will have a pressure on what you think it important or difficult and it takes time to take action. It is said that reason for such thinking too much comes from “perfectionism” or “PCN (Procrastination Syndrome)”  Everybody may have such “syndrome” more or less, and if someone feel seriously for such syndrome, he would make cause trouble to surroundings.  It is natural to make trouble in his daily works and living. Especially, his confidence will be damaged and it is not good for his mental health.  Then, how to solve or improve it?  When I left hotel, I did not imagine to look down fireworks from the top of “Inasa-yama”. But, I thought I would damage myself if I do not take action to leave hotel by momentum. After leaving hotel, I have been losing way all the way and could not care about myself to be able to reach “Inasa-yama” or not. It was good to give no time to myself beforehand. Once I take one step forward, only action will follow. I think it most difficult to open “Word file” when I try to write an essay or a thesis after deadline. I feel it torturous to read my unfinished essay. But, once I can clear such psychological barriers, task itself would not distress me. Rather, it may make me pleasure like night view from the top of Inasa-yama and fire-works and make me feel “I am glad I could come here”. By the way, it rained very heavily ever recorded next day in Kyushu and all the trains in Nagasaki stopped. If I have postponed my schedule saying “I would go tomorrow”, I missed the chance to see such wonderful views.    SGRA Kawaraban 622 in Japanese (Original)  Wu Xiaoxiao /2018 Raccoon, Associate Fellow, Curator of Tokyo National Museum,  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala
  • Kim Boram “Environment and Scientific Technology”

     “Science saves and destroys the earth.”  Since I have studied about solar power generation, a type of renewable energies for five years during my master’s and doctoral degree courses, I have always been thinking about this phrase. Through this phrase, I would like to write my feelings about the relationship between “environment and science”.  In recent years, environmental issues like exhaustion of resources such as oil and coal, air pollution, and global warming are becoming more acute. As a result, countries around the world have adopted every possible policy like the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and the Paris Agreement of 2015. Among those policies, if we focus on the energy issues, the main goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, the purpose of countries that are promoting the use of renewable energy is not only the issue of the global environment but also the protection of energy security, but we will not talk about that here.     In the field of science and technology, the most important thing to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) exhaustion is to develop clean energy sources. Beside solar power generation that I have worked on, there are other power generation systems, like wind power generation, geothermal and biomass power generation etc. There are other approaches of technologies related to the electrification of products such as the development of automobiles which mount electric motor engines instead of gasoline engines. Also, the research has been conducted on capturing CO2, exhausted at thermal power station, and restore it into carbon fuels. Looking at these things, science is thought to be a discipline that can save the future earth. However, what I have always been questioning is that the development of science and technology has caused the current environmental problems.  Scientific technology has invented various things to enrich human life. At present, the indispensable of our daily life such as the electrical products like mobile phones and computers including vehicles such as automobiles and airplanes and functional materials for clothes are all products made by the development of science and technology. Even mass production, which have been developed to meet our increasing population, was made by development of scientific technology. Even just from what is stated here, it is clear that human life has been abundant due to the development of science. At the same time, consumption of energy and natural resources buried in the ground (metal etc.) are being critical. It is estimated that the world economy that has continued to develop since the industrial revolution that took place in the latter half of the 18th century will continue to grow by the development of the developing countries. However, it is speculated that the depletion of resources and environmental issues will continue to grow and become more serious.   The unknown world is explicated down to nanometer unit by the development of science and even taking pictures of black holes has been successful. I think scientific technique could make clear about any phenomenon on earth and in planet and enrich human life. However, I hope such scientific technique will be utilized not only for human beings but also for the global environment. Science destroys the earth for human life, but science also has the key to overcome it. In fact, efforts are now started to develop renewable energies, electric motors for cars, and plastics that melts quickly. I, as a researcher of engineering science, would like to challenge my research and knowledge for the future of the earth.     SGRA Kawaraban 621 in Japanese (Original)  Kim_Boran / Special researcher of Power Device at Samsung Electronics (Korea)   Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala
  • Yang Chun-ting The 8th Fukushima Study Tour “Resurrection of Fukushima”

    I participated in the Fukushima Study Tour for three days from September 21 to 23, 2019 and I had a really productive time. People just say “earthquake disaster” and “reconstruction” simply. But, I would like to report what actually happened and are being happening in Fukushima. Habitants fled from radiation contamination after the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant Accident in 2011. And, I report what I heard and saw, like decontamination works, utilization of land and return of habitants etc.  At First, we visited the "TEPCO Decommissioning Museum", which reviews the progress of the nuclear accident and introduces the current status and schedule of decommissioning work. It was a few days after three former TEPCO executives were acquitted by the judicial decision. The commentators of the museum explained and apologized repeatedly saying “TEPCO did not continue to strengthen safety measures by neglecting the risk of severe accidents caused by external events such as natural phenomena “.  I was surprised rather at their explanation that TEPCO have not taken any measures by 2011 despite TEPCO have received an information in 2008 that water level would rise to 15.7m by tsunami by the earthquake at Fukushima offshore.   We left the museum and went to Iitate where people have been interrupted from their usual day-to day life because they had to take refuges. On March 31, 2017, six years after the accident, the evacuation order for Iitate, except one district, was released finally.  According to statistics on September, this year, only less than 1,200 villagers out of about 6,500 returned. I saw a lot of flexible container bags for contaminated soil in Iitate, surrounded by beautiful mountains. I could see solar-panels also at the corner of farm-land.  We stayed at “House of Wind and Soil”, built by reused wooden materials for temporary houses for exchange between the people inside and outside of Iitate. We took lectures from Mr. Yoichi Tao, Director of “Resurrection of Fukushima” and Assistant Director, Professor Masaru Mizoguchi, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Science/ Faculty of Agriculture, the University of Tokyo. We learned the present Iitate, where agriculture, forestry and livestock industries have been their livelihood before.  But, farmers cultivate Turkish (Chinese) bellflowers (トルコキキョウ) in cultivation houses now, and we could see barns for cows which are controlled by remote monitoring equipment.  We visited “Museum for Matsuzuka Soil” where we learned how to decontaminate radiation “Cesium”, and also visited farms for Japanese lacquer tree (ウルシ) which are being cultivated experimentally as economical products. We experienced planting flowers under the guidance of Mr. Kin-ichi Ookubo who is trying to make flower garden like a paradise of earth by growing various flowers like cherry blossoms and roses.  We have enjoyed dinner party also together with the villagers at the Sasu Public Hall (ex-Sasu Junior High School) where we offered our hand-made fusion cuisine and villagers returned their dance and songs.  In fact, among the people who can be counted as villagers in Iidate, more than 100 migrants who have moved in during the past two years, such as the Tao family, are included. Therefore, some villagers said that, as to their resurrection plan, they feel antipathy against the opinion of new comers from outside of Iitate.  “Resurrection of Fukushima” is now setting their new program. But it may affect Iitate, because we cannot say all the villagers are keeping up pace with the program. Actually, “Resurrection of Fukushima” called an art director, Mr. Fram Kitagawa to draw up a plan “Art Project” discovering local culture and attracting visitors to the area.  *Fram Kitagawa : famous for his works like “International Art Festival in Setonai”, “Art Festival of Daichi (Niigata Pref.)etc., Awarded ‘文化功労賞‘(bunka koro sho - cultural distinguished service) in 2016  Some people may have a doubt why “art” is adopted for the purpose of resurrection ofagricultural villages. However, I, as a student of art, understand think it quite reasonable. Art tends to add unique value to every event, by "visualizing" things that are not normally visible to the public and re-examining established concepts. The viewer is stimulated by the art work and encourages various discoveries and recognition. Due to these characteristics, art projects are already being practiced in many parts of Japan as a means of regional resurrection, with the hope that artists will bring new perspectives to discover and communicate the appeal of the region.  According to Mr. Tao, resurrection of Iitate does not mean returning the village to the original condition. He insisted that the nuclear accident destroyed the relationship between the nature and human beings and spirits of human beings who cut off their relationship were destroyed by the accident. In these meanings, art project may lead to new relations or attractions between human beings and human beings, or between human beings and lands.  Efforts for resurrection of Iitate spread from agriculture and forestry, and stock raising to artistic activities. Regardless of whether it is an “inside person” or not, the many activities being carried out by multi-disciplinary collaborators who have enormous imagination based on the research and research capabilities that have settled on the ground, showcase the rich creativity of citizens.  SGRA NEWS ( Report of The 8th Fukushima Study Tour) in Japanese (original) Photos of the Day  Yang Chun-ting / 2018 Raccoon      Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala
  • CHINAG_Yung_Po I returned “Fukushima” after One Year and Four Months

    I have visited Fukushima in May 2018, for the first time, as a participant of “the Fukushima Study Tour”, and I returned Fukushima on September 21, 2019 after one year and four months. Why did I, a Taiwanese, visited Fukushima again? First, I liked rich nature and beautiful scenery of Fukushima and liked to meet people who are trying hard for restoration of Fukushima. I sympathize with the people having common problems of how to confront with the issues of nuclear power plant and renewable energies. I returned Fukushima this time because Taiwan has the same problems, and I cannot think it is someone else’s problem. Yang Chun-Ting reported on the details of this year's tour, so I would like to mention the changes that I felt on this tour over a year and four months.  At first, I visited TEPCO decommissioning museum for the first time. While at graduate school, I was a curator and had experience in exhibiting at museums and other places. Compared to the exhibits we have seen so far, the decommissioning museum introduced the latest technology and its digital exhibition was very impressive. For example, it is a very easy-to-understand exhibit that includes images of the theater hall at the time of the occurrence of the earthquake and images of the current robot working inside the reactor building.  In the commentary, the apology was repeated, stating that "remembering the memories and records of the accident and passing on reflections and lessons learned inside and outside the company to prevent such an accident from happening again" are claimed to be "one of the responsibilities to be fulfilled.".  In their explanation, they mentioned that there was overconfidence in safety measure. But they never touch on location of their responsibility. They never referred to how they should evade tragedy, or how to deal with similar situations. By such reasons, I thought their saying about their apology and explanation were very superficial by their official positions. I found a meaning which I could learn about nuclear power accident. It was the basis of everything. After leaving the Museum, I had different feelings about Iitate from the last Tour during three days staying at Iitate.  The first thing that need to be addressed is “the house of wind and soil”(“the House” hereafter). In the last tour, we have stayed at “Ryouzen Center” (ex-Ryouzen Training Center) which “Resurrection of Fukushima” (“Resurrection Center” hereafter) have borrowed where they had orientations and social gatherings. But, the House, which was completed in this March, is now giving opportunities of staying and orientations to the people who visit Iitate.  The House is also the place of communications between visitors and villagers and place for relaxation and refreshment among villagers.  I, born in Showa era, liked Ryouzen Center which had Showa atmosphere. But, completion of the House is epoch making and took an important step like moving from “temporary house” to “my home”.  We went to the disaster site after receiving orientations from Mr. Tao, Chairman of the House and the Society of Revitalization, Professor Mizoguchi, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Science/ faculty of Agriculture, the University of Tokyo, Assistant Director of Resurrection of Fukushima and Mr. Yano of the Tokyo University of the Arts. visiting the site after getting orientations was very effective. We were able to visualize the completion of the "hardware" facilities, it is thought that the "software" so-called various projects can be further deepened. Please refer to Yang's “Report” for details of  each project.  Next, I would like to briefly mention the scenery of the city. Mega solar houses featured in last year's Report are still orderly and neatly lined up, we were able to get the spectacular views of the sea above a rice field. However, is it good for Iitate, which has been selected as one of the most beautiful village?  I think it necessary to be considered again because the government have decided to reconsider the system of buying electricity (by solar) at fixed price.  As to “black pyramid”, a mountain of flexible container bags, has been removed to the place of intermediate treatment or Chodei (長泥)district and scenery is being recovered. It should be very delightful, but the dilemma behind it lies. The fact, the FIBC bags had been removed, meant that the subsidies, which had been paid for storage, were no longer provided.  It is natural to think about economy to live and there would be no objection to that.But there will be things worth keeping even if we make a sacrifice of economy. Natural scenery, mentioned above, is one of them. But, I, as a researcher of history, like to keep a gymnasium in Sasu(佐須)-Primary school.  Historic spots which are preserved importantly are not always preserved as valuable from the beginning. Any activities for preservation are always battles like “it will not be worth keeping” or “there is no budget for it”. It will be necessary to preserve, or we have to preserve any cultural properties, whichever countries’ or local, as far as such properties can represent histories and cultures of the area.  Lastly, I would like to introduce two pictures which Mr. Tao, Director of “Resurrection of Fukushima” put on his face-book on November 4. The first picture is a scenery of the Sasu Pass. And the second one is a composite photograph of transmission line which will be built under the cooperation of an energy company. It is said that Iitate Village and it’s land owners have already agreed. However, as Miss. Yang explained, villagers are not always agreeable and new comers, like Mr. Tao who came from “the outside”, are treated as “outsiders”. I, seeing those two pictures, like to ask “insiders” what is the most important thing to be kept for Iitate and their posterity?  I sincerely hope I could enjoy their rich nature and wonderful scenery when I would ‘return’ Fukushima again.  SGRA Kawaraban 614 in Japanese (Original)  CHINAG_Yung _Po / 2018 Raccoon, Research Student of Japanese History Course, Research Institute for Literature, Waseda University  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala
  • Cho_Suil “Korea-Japan relations are increasing chaos?!” (Part 2)

     “Korea-Japan relations are increasing chaos !? ” (Part 1)  [It is a key to have private exchanges of our voices from both countries.]  I summarize chief events of the last year (2018).  ・April 27, 2018 : Moon Jae-in, the President of the South Korea and Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of the North Korea had summit talks. They crossed the military demarcation line between the two countries at Panmunjeom (板門店).  ・June 12:Kim Jong-un and the U.S. President, Donald J. Trump had summit talks at Singapore.・October 30:Supreme Court of the South Korea passed the judgement on Nippon Steel Corporation to pay one hundred million Won per person to four conscripted workers who were said to have been forced to work during the Pacific War.・November 21:The Korean government declared to dissolve “Reconciliation and Healing Foundation”.  This foundation was established in July, 2016 based on the “Comfort Women Agreement” (December 28, 2015).(The year 2019)・March 25, 2019:Daejeon City District court approved “Application for distraining of two trademark rights and three patent rights properties of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries” which was submitted by “Citizens’ Association with The Workers Corps Harmoni (grandmothers)”.・June 28-29, 2019:The G20 Summit was held in Osaka. But there was no summit meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Moon Jae-in were not materialized.  ・June 30:The U.S. President D. Trump visited South Korea after the G20 Summit in Osaka. He walked across the military demarcation alone and came back to the South together with Kim Jong-un. And, Moon Jae-in joined. News of pleasant talks among those three tops amazed the world.・July 4:Japanese government invoked a measure which strengthen controlling export of semiconductor materials to South Korea and decided to exclude South Korea from “White Country”.・August 22:The South Korean government announced the termination (destroy) of GSOMIA (Korea-Japan Military Information Protection Agreement) which has been  signed on November 23, 2016).  Is it necessary for our considerations about the events mentioned above and recent situations between Korea and Japan, which are said to be “Crisis of 1965 System”?  The agreement was signed on June 22, 1965 and entered into efficacy on December 18, 1965, "The Treaty on Basic Relations between the Republic of Korea and Japan (Basic Treaty of Korea and Japan)", "Properties of Property and Claims" Between the Republic of Korea and Japan on the Resolution and Economic Cooperation (Korean-Japanese Claims Agreement), "Agreement between Japan and the Republic of Korea on the legal status and treatment of Korean citizens residing in Japan (Japan Korean Legal Status Agreement).  It is also necessary to consider the reasons why the interpretation is controversial over claims between states and between individuals. On August 27, 1991, Mr. Yanai Shunji, the then Chief of the International Legal Affairs Bureau, the Ministry of  Foreign Affairs, has explained that “both countries have confirmed that rights to claim were solved perfectly and finally” and “both countries abandoned, each other’s, our national rights to claim which based on peoples’ right of claim.”  At the same time, Mr. Yanai explained “it does not mean individual right to claim are lapsed in the meanings of civic laws”. On February 26, 1992, he answered, at the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, “it does not deny people, as a Korean citizen to raise such claim to Japan”. I think personally that Mr. Yanai’s answer is correct. But it does not seem to be correct in the Japanese Government. It is because the Korean Supreme Court declared that individual rights to claim are still alive and right to claim by the government is not included in the Agreement.  The point may be there is not official conversation through diplomatic channels. Of course, it goes without saying that both governments, which have to consider a lot of things like the relations and interests, now and future, have to be very cautious to behave carelessly at first. However, on individual basis, we have to keep interchanging without reading the facial expressions of each other. I think it is important to bring up such persons who can understand each other and can express their own opinions regarding the Korean-Japanese relations exactly. It would be my assignment to accomplish, as a bridge between the two counties hereafter.  [The Preamble to the Constitution of Korea and Japan]The Preamble to the Constitution of Korea(omission)The Preamble to the Constitution of Japan (I feel there is full of spirits of pursuing for peace)  We, the Japanese people act through legitimately elected delegates in the National Diet, determined that we shall secure for ourselves and our posterity the fruits of peaceful cooperation with all nations and the blessings of liberty throughout this land, and resolved that never again shall we be visited this horrors of war through the action of government, do proclaim that sovereign power resides with the people and do firmly establish this Constitution, Government is a sacred trust of the people, the authority for which is derived from the people, the powers of which are exercised by the representatives of the people, and the benefits of which are enjoyed by the people, This is a universal principle of mankind upon which this Constitution is founded. We reject and revoke all constitutions、laws, ordinances, and rescripts in conflict herewith.  We, the Japanese people, desire peace for all time and deeply conscious of the high ideals controlling human relationship, and we have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world. We desire to occupy an honored place in an international society striving for the preservation of peace, and the banishment of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance for all time from the earth. We recognize that all people of the world have the right to live in the peace, free from fear and want.  We believe that no nation is responsible to itself alone, but that laws of potential morality are universal; and that obedience to such laws is incumbent upon all nations who would sustain their own sovereignty and justify their sovereign relationship with other nations.  We, the Japanese people, pledge our national honor to accomplish these high ideals and purposes with all our resources.  I think it the same in the point that both countries want everlasting peace. And we must cooperate together “not to have the horror of war again” and “to keep peace, to eliminate forever ‘autocracy and slavery’ and ‘oppression and intolerance’. There are a lot of problems pending between Korea and Japan to be solved through diplomatic channels and I do hope they establish the systems which they can talk openly and freely  And, we must endeavor to establish solid system and understanding, on the private level, in the exchange of culture, sports and educational fields so that such systems would not be discontinued by political dispute.  SGRA Kawaraban 612 in Japanese (Original)   Cho_Sull / Fellowship from Japan Society for Promotion of Science  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala  
  • Stefan Wuerrer Returning to the Questions of “Who are the Victims?” “Where are the Disaster-Stricken Areas? ”

    I first visited Fukushima in May 2018. I joined the Fukushima tour organized by the Atsumi International Foundation and stayed there for two nights.  This time, I visited Iitate as a voluntary interpreter for the IPPS (International People’s Project) organized by CISV Japan Kanto Chapter.  (*CISV:Children’s International Summer Village)  What motivated me to visit Iitate again was a desire to learn more about the issues of unequal distribution of responsibility and burden and the arbitrary or self-willed demarcation between “us” and “others,” or, more simply put, the question of  “who is the restoration of Fukushima for?”     There were also other things that left an impression on me in Iitate. I was reminded of my father’s beautiful homeland in North-East Austria where the deep green blends in with the beautiful surrounding woods and fields. There was also the non-negligible existence of piles of polluted soil covered by black sheets which stand out prominently yet ominously.  I dare say that these piles of polluted soil are being left as is in the agricultural fields because the government can use the excuse of saying that their hands are full with the Olympics. There are also solar-panels that have been left in the fields because they were rendered impossible to use due to radioactive contamination. I heard that dozens of these solar panels are owned by big companies and that Iitate can receive only the rent from them, not electricity.    In the midst of these circumstances, a fissure grew in this local community.  The accident at Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant led the younger generation, for better or worse, to leave their hometown to work in other places.  On the other hand, the elderly exerted themselves to restore their homeland where they were born and lived for most of their life.  As I live in Tokyo, I have little chance to learn about this situation. According to the newspapers or TV, it seems the accident at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant and radioactive contamination is already over. Staying at a disaster area or “the site” and listening to what the people who live there had to say gave me a very valuable experience and made me more conscious of the situation.       Last year when I tried to summarize my impressions, I was left with one question.  Is it correct to use the expression “the site”?  Where is “the site” or disaster area?  Where is the evacuation order zone which is contaminated by radioactivity?  Where is the zone that is difficult to return to?  Which are the villages or towns where restoration or decontamination work is being conducted?  Is it the Fukushima nuclear power plant?  What about Tokyo or Japan, or the Pacific Ocean? How can we understand “the site”?  When I was packing a few days before my visit to Iitate, I recalled my last visit there and these questions.  Mr. Hoshino, with whom I stayed as part of a homestay to interpret for two foreign participants of IPPS Fukushima, sent me a speech written for a speech contest by a student of Iitate Junior High School which also spurred my thoughts.  CISV is a private non-profit organization. It organizes international educational programs and area projects for people over 11 years old in 69 nations to foster global citizens who can contribute to creating a peaceful and fair world. IPPS, as one of the educational programs, held a workshop in Iitate from August 11 to August 24.  In this program, participants over the age of 19 joined with people and organizations in Iitate to tackle difficult problems in the area over a period of two weeks. In the first half, they learned about Iitate, and in the latter half contributed to the area as a form of output. Over a weekend between the first and latter half of the program, we went on a homestay in the homes of volunteers in the Iitoi and Sasu areas.  On the last day of our visit, we visited a museum for the decommissioning of the nuclear reactor and the site of Fukushima nuclear reactor number 1. I joined these visits as an interpreter together with other four Raccoons and we had a variety of activities in these two days. In visiting a cowshed in the Komiya district where several hundred cows are raised, we came to know about the agricultural situation in Fukushima after the earthquake. We also learned about the historical background of the Mano-Dam when we drove to Lake Mano, which had splendid scenery. We also enjoyed pizza which was baked in the stone oven in the garden of our host.  He had constructed this oven for people to get together. During the garden party he organized for us, we were also treated to a jam session with a variety of musical instruments. We even helped mowing grass together with the community in Iitate. There are still many problems remaining in Iitate, but we can also gain many valuable experiences through being in this area that is rich in nature and broad-minded people.  We cannot thank Mr. Hoshino, our host, enough.    Mr. Hoshino works at Iitate area support center as a public health nurse and cares for the elderly. As mentioned above, he had sent me a speech from an English speech contest by Miss. Yasumi Sato, a student of Iitate Junior High School. The title of her speech was “Don’t Call Us Victims”.  In her speech, she says, “There is a word which I do not like to use. It is “victims.”  The word “victims” means people who suffered from disasters. We are not victims now. We are disgusted by being called victims. (・・・) Many people get information through the mass-media and trust such information. I have seen many TV programs regarding the earthquake disaster and was interviewed many times. And, I tried to let many people know the true situation that we are struggling with. But,(・・・)pictures or interviews were exaggerated. They purposely portrayed us as “victims”. Do we keep being victims as long as the media wants? Victims are considered miserable. But, I do not agree.  Victims are not necessarily miserable.” (Publicity paper “Iitate”, December, 2017)  When I read her speech, I thought about my question from last year – where is “the site”, the disaster area? Who are the victims?  Why do people like to create “victims” or to be “pitiful” ?  Any line dividing “this side” and “the other side” would be an arbitrary one,  or a result of neglect of “the other side”. However, we are unable to stop drawing the line somewhere.  As far as we are humans, in order to be “oneself” one has to draw the line somewhere, on one side or the other. Considering why we desire to draw this line and the function it serves is a worthy question of thought.  It would also provide a response to Miss, Sato’s speech and her feeling of being “disgusted” as well as my questions of place and victimhood, as well as the general questions of for whom the resurrection of Fukushima is for? Who is responsible for this resurrection?       The word “site” or “disaster area” exists on the assumption that there is a place which is not “the site” or “disaster area”. In talking about the Great East Japan Earthquake or the accident of the Fukushima nuclear power reactor, using the words “disaster area” to signify a specified area or site and the word “victims” as a specified group of people  means that there is an imaginary line demarcating “non-victims” or “non-disaster area.”  We can imagine “here” as “non-disaster area” and “myself” as “non-victim”.  Expressions such as “I will do something for somebody” or “supporting” have the same meaning as the words “pitiful” or just “Fukushima”.  In the world of renting and borrowing the words “I will do something for somebody” mean that “this side” will help “the other side” beyond a border line, entering into “the site” with “goodwill”.  However, what will happen after “doing something for somebody”?  We return to the problem of “this side” and “the other side”. In other words, the side “to support” and “to be supported” are different or distinct. Where is “the site” in such cases? Is it “this side” which supports “the other side”?  Does “the site” belong to “the other side”? Is it “this side” which supports “the other side”? When we say “let us support”, is it correct to understand resources or “time to spare” for supporting as belonging to “this side”?  If so, we are producing ourselves unconsciously to be “kindhearted”, stretching or enlarging our consciousness.  Do not misunderstand me. I am not saying “stop supporting”.  It is “we” (this side) that used the words “pitiful” or “the other side”. Do not escape from the responsibilities of empathy, sympathy and cooperation by being intoxicated by the words “I will do it for you” or “kindhearted me”. We have to recognize “the other side” who stand on different footings. Radioactive contamination and its aftereffects by the Fukushima nuclear power reactor, which was caused by the large scale earthquake and tsunami of 3.11, produced this area with its specific needs. But, it is “our” problem and responsibility. No matter where we live, “we” use the energy generated by the nuclear power reactor before 3.11 and after 3.11 as well.  It is “we”, whoever voted for or against the parties which agreed on the construction of or resuming of the nuclear power reactor.  It is also “we” and the government who regard the Olympics as more important than the restoration of Fukushima.  The restoration of Fukushima is “my” or “our” problem and responsibility regardless of whether I move to another country or stay in Japan. We should not irresponsibly adhere to “the other side” by using the term “pitiful” and by showing fake compassion on the basis of being on “this side”. This issue is not a temporary performance of goodwill. It is “we”, plural and the first person, who can make possible the access to resources that the disaster area has lost. It is not because environmental pollution and natural disasters cross the borders of prefectures. When nuclear power stations were built, their burdens and risks were enforced one-sidedly on the area where plants were built.      I saw the words “sympathy” and “cooperation” many times on the leaflets of Resurrection of Fukushima which accepted and guided us last year. I could hear the voices which called for the necessity of “sympathy”, “cooperation” and “sharing” in Iitate last year and this year. How can we make possible “sympathy”, “cooperation” and “sharing” by “myself” beyond our differences in needs and contexts?  This is a question that I brought back from Iitate last year, and which I continue to ponder.   SGRA Kawaraban 610 in Japanese (Original)  Stefan Wuerrer / 2018 Raccoon, Graduate School of Arts and Science, The University of Tokyo  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sonja Dale
  • Min Dongyup An encounter with “Historical Thought”

    Ten years have already passed since I came to Japan to study abroad, and I am now studying history at graduate school. I could not have imagined such a life ten years ago.  However, when I think back on these ten years, I realize that my past experiences have motivated my research. Why am I here?  My studying abroad started from some occurrences which cannot be captured by the term “studying abroad”.  When I entered university in Korea and majored in economics, I was an ordinary university student who had no overseas experience or connections. When I took a leave of absence from school for my military service and wanted to return to school, I was following the path which Korean society had laid out, trying to tread an ordinary road. When I graduated from university, I would start working at a stable company, get married and make a happy home. I could not afford to imagine any other way of life. However, I did have a hazy sense of unease.  Am I OK like this?  What do I want to do? I decided to travel on a whim to find the answer for myself. If I travelled, I could try to find myself overseas. Since I had been interested in J-pop and Japanese anime and manga since my junior high school days, it was quite natural to decide to go to Japan for my first overseas visit.     My ten days backpacking journey in Japan started and I traveled in the Kansai and Kanto regions by overnight bus. My first visit overseas brought me fresh and endless surprises. What I felt during this trip cannot be explained by the simple term “culture-shock”. Everything that I experienced in Japan became the starting point of what we experience when we become conscious of “the other” which is different from “ourselves” as Korean. It was also the starting point of my reflection on the concept of “ourselves” and the first time that I became aware of the meaning of a “nation”.  After returning to Korea, I immediately began to prepare for my second trip to Japan as I could not forget my first experience. Three months later, I found myself at the west exit of Shinjuku Station along with my big suitcase.    I started my student life in Japan studying Japanese language at a Japanese language school. Studying Japanese was not my only purpose. I was struggling to assimilate the shock which I had experienced on my first visit to Japan and Japan itself in my own way. I thought I could relativize “Korea” when distanced from “Korea” which made up “myself”.  I could also honestly consider what a “country” is from studying “Japan”.  I realized that what I thought to be self-evident was not really self-evident. When people doubt their common sense and contemplate why it became common sense in the first place, it naturally leads to historical consideration.  There exists a gap in historical recognition between Korea and Japan, and this has become a knotty problem. Since I could now relativize the concept of “nation,” a question formed about what would be necessary to solve such knotty problems.  I had to change my university major as I began to think that I would like to study more professionally at university. So, I took another entrance examination to change university and be able to undertake various learnings at another university where liberal arts were considered to be important.  I could approach various historical issues between Korea and Japan from a multitude of angles within specific disciplines (areas of specialization).  But, I was not sated and  decided to go to graduate school. I desired to create a new perspective to solve the issues regarding the present historical recognition between Korea and Japan. I am currently advancing my research on the Korean history of the modern and present period and the relations between Korea and Japan, focusing especially on their thoughts and cultures.  Problems of historical recognition can be found anywhere and exist as a universal problem. Given this, through such concrete fields as the modern and present histories of Korea and Japan, my task is to study the structure of such thought and how we can overcome such problems. What I have learned through my university student life in Japan is to reconsider the premise of our thoughts and to search for a new structure of historical ability to think which exists behind our “common sense” and which can relativize truism. SGRA Kawaraban 607 in Japanese (Original) Min Dongyup / 2018 Raccoon, Research Scholar of Graduate School of Arts and Science, The University of Tokyo  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sonja Dale
  • Kim_Soongbae “Japan-Korea Relations, their ‘Postwar’ and ‘Liberalization’, and International Politics”

    There is an opinion that the year 1945 is the standard of “Japan-Korea postwar relations”.  In human history, war has always been a big issue, and , there is also the opinion that colonialism has been a defining issue of human history.    Mass-militant wars between Germany and France, which broke out many times in the past, are different from the relations between Japan and Korea. Postwar Japan”, which came about after defeat in the Pacific War, is different from postwar Korea. The Korean postwar came after the Korean War which occurred in 1950. There have been problems caused by colonialism both in Japan and Korea during the period of the Pacific War and these problems continued up until 1945. There are different perceptions and experiences in both countries, and specific differences in the histories of Japan and Korea that cannot simply be explained using the term “postwar”.   The word “postwar” possesses special significance in Japan, both as a period in Japanese history and as a conceptual turning point. For example, November 3, 1946 is the birthday of Emperor Meiji.  The Constitution of Japan was announced officially on November 3, 1946 and it is said that the political leaders back then decided on the day considering the Emperor’s birthday. We can say that Japan, which was not directly involved in the Korean War, could be considered a “peace-loving nation” despite the fact that Japan has played an important role as a base country during the Korean War.  It was also Japan that proposed the so-called “postwar regime” of the 21st century.  In the “postwar regime”, Japan proposed shifting to a social framework suitable for the 21st century - if basic frameworks under the constitution like systems in administration, education, economy, employment, relations between central government and local, diplomacy and security etc. are deemed unsuitable for the 21st century. Given this, history just after the year 1945 in Japan is directly connected with the present.  In November, 1946, then Prime Minister Kijūrō Shidehara established the War Research Committee.  It was necessary for Japan to investigate autonomously actual events from the war to “establish a new, peaceful and highly civilized Japan.” In the Committee, they researched not only the Japan-China War and the Pacific War, but also the First World War, the Russo-Japanese War and the Meiji Restoration (明治維新).  However, there was no regard given to the Korean Peninsula. Such treatment was not unusual.  The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (the Tokyo Trials) which started in 1946 judged cases of unlawful actions by Japanese leaders during the time from 1928 to 1945.  As many people know, colonial problems were not taken up in these trials and liberal Japanese researchers have pointed out the problems of this. However, if you read the decision carefully, you would know that the Allied Powers approved the Annexation of Korea in 1910 as a right of Japan prior to 1928.  On the other hand, the word “liberalization” in Korea is synonymous with “postwar.”  On July 26, 1945, the Allies presented the Potsdam Declaration. Prior to Japan’s acceptance of the Declaration, the United States carried out the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan is the only country to have experienced atomic bombs, but the Japanese are not the only race that were affected. Those with roots in the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan and the Mainland China were also the victims of atomic bombs.  At 11pm on August 14, Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration, and the Pacific War (the Great East Asian War) ended with the Emperor’s announcement on August 15.  The date of the Emperor’s mandate was August 14.After August 14, the battle between Japanese and Soviet armies was still going on, and it was on September 2 that this battle ended with the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender.  In many countries, September 2 is the Victory Day over Japan. However, in Japan, August 15 has two meanings – the end of the war and the beginning of the postwar period.  In the Korean Peninsula, the Emperor’s mandate had another meaning - liberalization.  Three years later, on August 15, 1948, Korea declared their independence and got international recognition by Resolution 195 (III) at the United Nations General Assembly on December 12 1948.  In Korea during this period, they were arguing about claims for compensation and referred to the Treaty of Versailles between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany. The Treaty was very severe on Germany and concluded in 1919. Korean’s claims for compensation were not “punishment” nor “retaliation” against Japan, but rather “recovery from damages” which came from “violence” and “greed.”  In The Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea” concluded in 1949, it was mentioned that “Japan has ruled over Korea from 1910 to August 15, 1945”.  This means that Korea wanted to acknowledge the period of colonization by Japan. In the Treaty, they also mentioned “human damages which came from the Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War,” meaning that they considered themselves as victims of war. In other words, Korea wanted to address both “colonial responsibility” and “war responsibility”.  In 1951, however, Japan concluded “The Peace Treaty of San Francisco” with the Allied nations which brought a conclusion to “the state of war” and reinstated their sovereignty. Korea was not authorized to sign the treaty.  The Peace Treaty of San Francisco, signed during the “Cold War” and “Hot War” (the Korean War) , formed “the order after the War” after the Asian Pacific War. However, there were no special rules for the formation of order after the liberation of colonies.  It is not difficult to criticize the Peace Treaty of San Francisco if we consider the situations mentioned above. However, historically many peace treaties tend to focus on wars and their aftermath.  Separation clauses that address the colonies of defeated nations do not consider the colonial issues that come up afterwards.  Notwithstanding such examples, Korea, whose sovereignty was approved by the United Nations in 1948, and Japan, which recovered its sovereignty in the Peace Treaty of San Francisco in 1951, have entered into international relations as mentioned in the preamble of “The Japan-Republic Korea Basic Relations Treaty” in 1965. Since then, both countries have been trying to narrow their divergence little by little. “The Kono (Chief Cabinet Secretary, in 1993) statement”, “Murayama (Prime Minister, in 1995) statement” and “Japan-Korea Joint Declaration” in 1998 were typical.  However, we have to realize that “the past” is still an issue today, and affects the economy as well as security - issues which we should work together on.  As a nation, they, like all human beings, pursue “prestige,” which is the basis of all fame and desire. It is not easy to find a correct “theory of practice” and means of overcoming the present crisis in Japan-Korea relations. It is necessary to have a mutual understanding and engage in self-reflection. Both countries have repeatedly emphasized the establishment of trust among political leaders and proposed the sharing of strategies including those regarding security issues, an established order of priority for problem solving, and continued exchange in the private sectors and so on.  We can explain such opinions from the viewpoint of “international politics” as follows (although they may not be solutions):  1. There is a saying in Latin that “we have to maintain mutual consent,” meaning that promises between national sovereignties precede over individual promises in international laws, stipulated on the premise of “The Vienna Treaties” (The Laws of Treaties)2. Emer de Vattel, a Swiss jurist and diplomat, says, in his famous “International laws,” that in order to restore peace there must be negotiation through concession or compromise rather than a strict principle of justice.3. The theory of “reconciliation” in international politics has been formulated from the study for conciliation. The three-layer structure of reconciliation provides international stability. The “three-layers” refer to systematic reconciliation by agreements, physical reconciliation by compensation, and ideal reconciliation by mourning or commemorative ceremonies.  The three viewpoints from international politics mentioned above came from the theses for “war and peace”.  In Japan-Korea relations the viewpoint of “colonies and peace” is necessary, and both countries require its development for international politics.  If a war among sovereign nations were to break out in the near future, it would be possible to end it officially via a peace treaty.  In the modern world, it will not be possible to be a nation under colonial rule. War and colonization are not humane acts. If we compare the sense of crisis against a possible war crisis, the colonial issue will remain an issue of the past. This gap in understanding between Japan and Korea comes from differences in interpretations and perceptions of the past. If there existed an “international politics for relations between Japan and Korea”, it would be possible to propose a thesis for understanding war, peace and colonies” not only in Japan and Korea but for the world as well.       SGRA Kawaraban 608 in Japanese (Original) Kim Soongbae / Eminent Professor, Faculty of Humanities, Chungnam (忠南) National University (Korea)  Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sonja Dale 
  • Jin_Hongyuan Miscellaneous Thoughts on Fukushima

    It was not the first time to visit Fukushima.  I visited Fukushima for the first time in 2012 summer as a volunteer.  Immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake (March 11, 2011), I was lost in my planned study abroad program in Japan, and by chance I found a recruitment of university volunteers to Fukushima on the bulletin board of Zhejiang University in China. When I called, it was a private exchange activity where a Japanese exchange student from Keio University contacted the Fukushima Prefectural Office and recruited university students in China to go to Fukushima. During the seven nights and six nights, we visited the villagers in temporary housing and visited agricultural facilities along with the sightseeing. The most impressive thing was that many young people fled outside the prefecture, but the old people who remained there were surprisingly strong and cheerful.  When I left Fukushima, I told “I will come back soon !”  But, it was seven years later that I could visit Fukushima again.  I visited Iitate in September, 2019 as “Fukushima Study Tour”. I was interested in agriculture because I have majored in agriculture in the university and I have a little knowledge about agriculture. I checked economy of Fukushima in advance and found that manufacturing is main. Contribution by agriculture is not so big, but some of the agricultural products are famous. For example, “Akatuki” and some of other peach breeds in Fukushima are very famous in Japan. There are some rice breeds which are as good as other breeds in neighboring prefectures like Niigata, Yamagata and Miyagi. Fukushima premier branded beef is also famous, and we can find “Akabeko”, which is a folk toy of cow, everywhere in Fukushima.  However, after the nuclear power plant accident, agricultural products from Fukushima suddenly came to the spotlight from all over the world. Frequent news such as foreign import bans. I also learned that all agricultural products made in Fukushima Prefecture that were not affected by the nuclear accident were suffering from reputational damage as "from Fukushima." In China, there is a proverb “好事不出門、懐事伝千里”.  It means “There are few people who care good things. But, bad news travels quickly”.  The same is true of Fukushima's agricultural products that are being beaten. According to a report by the MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries), the change in prices of six kinds of products like rice, beef, peach and plaice etc. are showing below the national average, despite of gradual recovery. It is not radioactive contamination but a prejudice for agriculture that Fukushima people should challenge for their restoration.  Now, let us come back to Iitate. It is true that profit from agriculture are damaged by prejudice as the second damage. But they do not know their actual latent impact on their health by radioactive contamination, which comes from invisible radiation by cesium, which have long half-life period. Immediately after the accident, wind brought such radioactive materials and spread to soil of Iitate. This time, I measured radioactive rays by dosimeter by myself walking in the village and found that data on the surface of ground and muddy place shows higher figures. In the windbreak forests, the place, where the wind from the nuclear power plant blows directly, shows higher figures. In Fukushima, they removed surface soil physically in order to keep their living and production. There were various reports about this. Some of them reported that they have tried to bury contaminated soil into deeper place, but they could not do it by the opposition of the people who live there. There was a plan by country which contaminated soils would be reused as piling up soil for their new roads. There seems no good idea for contaminated soils and we saw a lot of durable plastic bags alongside roads temporarily.  After two or three weeks later of our trip, the 19th typhoon hit Iitate and the contaminated soil flowed out by heavy rain. It was a problem. When I saw the news of flowing out of contaminated soil, I had mixed feelings in my mind. I know “anybody do not like to touch contaminated water and soil”.  As a foreigner, I felt a sense of helplessness like a bystander.    Fortunately, when I saw the faces of the villagers in Iitate, I was very impressed with their spiritual strength and strong mind. Of course, it is understandable that many former villagers remain in urban areas without returning after seven years of evacuation. Therefore, I respect the villagers who return and stay alive after canceling the evacuation orders. Seeing many NPOs working hard for the future of Iitate Village, I was impressed by the variety of ways of life, and it was a memorable trip.  I saw many calves in Iitate rich in nature which villagers began to raise. I wish I could enjoy nice Iitate beef when I would come back next time. SGRA Kawaraban 616 in Japanese (Original) Photos of the Day  Jin_Hongyuan / 2019 Raccoon, Special researcher at Department of Integrated Bioscience, The University of Tokyo Translated by Kazuo KawamuraEnglish checked by Sabina Koirala