JIN-328 -- The Voices Around the Water Cooler

========================================================
T H E J @ P A N I N C N E W S L E T T E R
Commentary on the Week's Business, Technology and Cultural News
========================================================

Issue No. 329
Tuesday July 12, 2005 TOKYO

+++ VIEWPOINT The Voices Around the Water Cooler
1. A Japanese Majority to Koizumi: No More Yasukuni Visits
2. The Contradiction
3. No to a National Memorial

========================================================
Entrepreneur's Handbook Seminar

Terrie Lloyd, founder of over 12 start-up companies in Japan
will be giviing an English-language seminar and Q&A on
starting up a company in Japan. This is an ideal opportunity
to find out what is involved, and to ask specific questions
that are not normally answered in business books.
All materials is Japan-focused.

Fore more details: http://japaninc.com/handbook_seminar3/
========================================================

+++ VIEWPOINT Voices Around the Water Cooler
1. A Japanese Majority to the PM: No More Yasukuni Visits

More than half of Japanese now think Prime Minister Koizumi
should stop visiting Yasukuni Shrine, according to a nationwide
poll by the Asahi Newspaper Co. on June 25 and 26. Asked
whether the PM should stop the visits, 52 percent of those
poled replied yes. In the same poll, 36 percent said he should
continue going to the shrine.

That the poll was conducted by the Asahi --
known for its stubborn defense of the Constitution's
war-renouncing article and its knee-jerk attribution of diabolical
intent to anything US military forces do in Japan -- might raise
questions of legitimacy in rightist minds. Indeed the
results of the poll received prominent -- gleeful? --
coverage, on the front-page of the paper's June 28 edition.

The poll, the first to reveal that more than half of the Japanese
think Koizumi should stop visiting Yasukuni Shrine, suggests
people now judge the issue to be of international dimensions
and no longer a problem resolvable by domestic politics. The
failure to lessen friction over interpretations of history
with China and Korea seems to weigh heavily on the Japanese
people.

========================================================
Have you got a web-related problem you wish would just go away?

Have you got a project that just does not belong in your data
center? A web application that is unusable? A project that has
been back-burnered because of bottlenecks in the internal
infrastructure?

We make problems go away!

Ashley Associates (http://www.ashleyassociates.co.jp) is one
of Japan's largest web consultancies and production companies
with a full range of services from usability consulting to
web-application outsourcing.

Please contact info@ashleyassociates.co.jp or Karl Hahne on
(03) 5469-2849 for more information.
========================================================

2. The Contradiction

The startling feature of the poll results was that 72 percent of those
who said the PM should forego Yasukuni visits cited consideration
for neighboring countries. The percentage of respondents in their 20s
through their 40s who said Koizumi should give up the visits was above
average for respondents, and exceeded 80 percent for those in their 20s
and 30s. This is a firm rejection of Koizumi's argument that protests
by other countries constitute interference in Japan’s affairs. On the
other hand, the most oft-cited reason why the PM should continue
going to Yasukuni was that "It would be wrong to stop the visits in
response to foreign criticism." This was the reason cited by as many
as 50 percent of those aged 20 to 49.

The Japanese people seek harmony with surrounding countries,
but resent their criticism. What lies behind the contradiction?
It would seem that the stance of Japan, which has been unable
to arrive at a shared interpretation of history with neighboring
countries, casts a shadow over relations.

========================================================
Resident First Co., Ltd. - "City Living at its Best"

Are you looking for a better quality of life right in the
middle of Tokyo? Are you considering upgrading your apartment?
Let us know your wishes, and we are confident we can provide
you a residence that will make your stay in Japan pleasant
and memorable.
* Area: Roppongi, Aoyama, Azabu, Hiroo, Omotesando, Akasaka, etc.
* Rent: 200,000 yen - over 1,000,000 yen

For more information, please visit
http://www.mitsui-resident-int.com
or call free dial 0120-317-039.
========================================================

3. No to a National Memorial

Public opinion is also divided over construction of a national
memorial -- an idea re-floated at the recent meeting of Japanese
and Korean heads of state -- which would presumably be beyond
international reproach, as no Japanese war criminals would be
enshrined there. Even amongst people who thought the PM should
desist from Yasukuni pilgrimages, only half favored construction
of a national memorial, and one-third were opposed. More might
support such a memorial if plans were
concrete and if Koizumi warmed to the idea.

I suggested some might be suspicious of a poll whose results neatly
advance the polling organization's political agenda. So I took my own
survey around the water cooler in the J@pan Inc. offices. Five of the
nine people (all Japanese) surveyed believed Koizumi should stop
visiting Yasukuni Shrine; four thought he should continue the visits.
My poll -- of admittedly dubious statistical validity -- revealed
the naysayers with a clear majority, 55 percent, a difference of only
3 percentage points from the corresponding figure in the Asahi poll.

Prime Minister Koizumi would be wise to hearken to the voices around the
water cooler.

--Burritt Sabin

========================================================
Resident First Co., Ltd. - "City Living at its Best"

Are you looking for a better quality of life right in the
middle of Tokyo? Are you considering upgrading your apartment?
Let us know your wishes, and we are confident we can provide
you a residence that will make your stay in Japan pleasant
and memorable.
* Area: Roppongi, Aoyama, Azabu, Hiroo, Omotesando, Akasaka, etc.
* Rent: 200,000 yen - over 1,000,000 yen

For more information, please visit
http://www.mitsui-resident-int.com
or call free dial 0120-317-039.
========================================================

SUBSCRIBERS: 29,892 as of July 4, 2005

EDITOR
Written and edited by Burritt Sabin (editors2@japaninc.com)

(C) Copyright 2005 Japan Inc Communications KK. All Rights Reserved.

business