Friday, March 17, 2006

Day In, Day Out

Day In, Day Out

As part of deregulation, many government agencies were recently turned into independent administrative corporations in Japan.

Even in national universities, new restaurants were allowed to open on campus more easily, for a university to gain an income. In a certain elite university in the middle of Tokyo, once there were only two restaurants or dining halls, but now there are ten. As a result, humble restaurants and shops around the university have been forced to close. The university is going to be cut off from its neighbors.

One scholar pointed out that this is a warning against poor deregulation. Traditional human relationships between the elite faculty and students and ordinary people in surrounding areas are going to extinct in Tokyo.
* * *

I am not sure how many students of The City College of The City University of New York (CCNY) have encountered this EEE-Report, but there is something about it I want to refer to.

In the website of CCNY, they introduce its origin:

“Founded in 1847 as The Free Academy, The City College of New York (CCNY) was one of the great experiments of the young American democracy. At the urging of School Board President Townsend Harris, New York established a school to provide access to higher education for bright young men from working class and immigrant families who could not afford private college. More than 158 years later, the experiment remains an overwhelming success.”

Townsend Harris, after having set the foundation of the present CCNY, went out to the world in the middle of 19th century, just before the Civil War in the United States.

Harris became Consul General to Japan, the first American diplomat to Japan, and began his diplomatic mission living almost alone in Japan in 1856.

After two years of struggle against the reluctant Shogun Government, he finally made the "Treaty of Peace and Commerce" with the samurai government of Japan. He is the first and (perhaps) only American who met a shogun in person in Edo Castle.

Japan at the time was amid the rising tension between the Shogun Government and some other clans who lined up against the Government’s policy to open the nation. (A Dutch interpreter, Henry Heusken, employed by Harris was put to the sword and killed by such a group of samurai.)

However, Harris succeeded in completing his mission and gaining respect from Japanese, partly due to fairly fair contents and provisions in the Treaty he offered to Samurai Japan that did not have sufficient experiences in Western Europe-style diplomacy as well as enough modern fire arms.

Harris returned to the United States in 1861 when the Civil War started, in which he took no part.

Schools in Japan today never forget to mention the name Townsend Harris in teaching history.

In the United States, without Townsend Harris and his Free Academy, there has been no such higher education institution called Harvard of the Proletariat in New York.
* * *

Townsend Harris is the only person who accomplished a great achievement both in the United States and Japan before the new era concurrently began in each country in the late 19th century.

Any meaningful transformation or innovation in the education sector or any other public sectors, including deregulation, needs somebody like Townsend Harris that has more capability than what people concerned have conventionally thought to be sufficient.

For example, if the first diplomat from the United States to Japan had showed anything that made Japanese people feel contempt for him during his stay for five years, his gravestone in New York today would not have carried an inscription which reads “Friend of Japan.”

(Therefore, students in New York have been all beneficiaries of the Friend of Japan.)
* * *

Day in, day out, can any public character today keep the quality of his or her conduct at such a demanding level?

(If such a person appears, the fact itself would be an extraordinarily significant piece of news among sinful people, however. )


Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Answers, My Friends, are Blown out of Groovy Windows behind your Sleek Desk

The Answers, My Friends, are Blown out of Groovy Windows behind your Sleek Desk

In a certain nice moment of your life time and in a tranquil mind with your feet on the desk, you might wonder, as the case may be, what the world is really like.
* * *

Q: What is the total financial wealth in the world?

A: The total financial wealth (excluding real estates) in the world is about 60 trillion dollars, of which 60% is held by the U.S. and 20 % is possessed by Japan. The combined amounts of those held by the U.K., France, and Germany are less than those possessed by Japan.

Q: How much investment does the U.S. receive from abroad every year?

A: The U.S. receives about 530 billion dollars every year from foreign countries including Japan. The U.S. is the world number one receiver of foreign investment.

Q: How much foreign currency exchange reserves does the U.S. have?

A: The U.S. has about 80 billion dollar foreign exchange reserve. Japan has 817 billion dollar foreign exchange reserve (, and China has 471 billion dollar foreign exchange reserve,) as of the middle of 2004.

Q: What country is the largest electricity consumer?

A: The U.S is the number one; far behind are China as No.2 and Japan No.3. As for electricity consumption per capita, Canada is No.1, the U.S. is No.2, Japan No.3, and France No.4.

Q: What country allocates the largest research and development (R&D) budget?

The U.S. spends the largest R&D expenses about 270 billion dollars, Japan spends 140 billion dollars, and Germany as No.3 spends about 50 billion dollars. (No data on China as of 2003.)

Q: What country has the largest number of R&D specialists?

No. 1 is the U.S. with 1.1 million researchers and sceinentists, No.2 Russia with one million experts, No.3 Japan with just les than one million experts, No.4 China with 0.9 millions, and No.5 is Germany with 0.5 millions.

Q: What country has the largest patent applications per year?

Japan is No. 1 country with 490,000 applications filed per year; the U.S. is No. 2 with less than 350,000 applications; and Germany is No.3 with more than 250,000.

Q: What country has the largest export value in technology trade?

The U.S. is No. 1 with almost 16 billion dollars, the U.K. is No. 2 with almost 8 billion dollars, and Japan No. 3 with just short of 6 billion dollars. They are the big three in this critical field.
* * *

These are only part of selections by a Japanese scientific journalist, Yoshiyuki Matsuo. Especially he points out that forests and mountains account for 65 percent of the total land of Japan; this ratio is almost equal to that of Sweden, Finland, or Brazil. The beauty of the landscape of Japan is priceless. The value of Mt. Fuji cannot be included in Japan’s GDP, but the mountain itself surpasses the gross domestic product in terms of intangible value, according to the author of “Numbers on Japan (Nihon no Suji).”

Japan’s civilization is for beauty, while that of other countries is for triumph.

Even Americans hate ugliness in human relationships, if it exists; Japanese are sometimes fatally hurt and thus refuse even to comment on them, or would treat them with sheer contempt.

When Japanese find true ugliness in the world of wealth, something might change, though you cannot expect such a drastic scenario with the U.S and other countries despite so many people of holy scriptures therein.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Einstein in Tokyo in 1922

Einstein in Tokyo in 1922

When Albert Einstein was on board of a Japanese ship sailing from Marseille, France, to Kobe, Japan, in November 1922, he received a notice that he was awarded a Nobel Prize.

Therefore, Einstein’s first lecture after he became a Nobel Prize winner was significantly conducted in Japan, probably with the deepest emotion in his life, during his 43-day stay.
* * *

When people want to show his smartness or point at foolishness of others, they sometimes use the name “Einstein.” It is a common thing in Japan, Europe, and America with all of which Einstein had some relation.

Everybody knows and can calculate one of Einstein’s equations, e = m*c**2, which led to realization of nuclear bombs, for it shows mass is physically equivalent to energy.

But, as for another Einstein’s equation G = (8*pi*g / c**4)*T, it is extremely difficult to calculate unless you master Riemannian geometry.

Also, note that “pi” appears here, and “c” is the speed of light, and “g” is the gravitational constant.

“G” and “T” request some special efforts in understanding a mathematical method called tensor, a rule to change a system of coordinates against a physical entity. They include thousands of combinations of terms if mathematically extended with partial differential equations as its components.

In addition, as Riemannian geometry is too unique, it is almost impossible for ordinary people to solve the equation.

However, put simply, G = T.
G: Distortion of space
T: Concentration of energy and kinetic momentum

Metaphorically speaking, space and time is dominated by a person who has a strong personality, talents, the will, or love, in any circles, communities, or occasions.

Dr. Hawking solved the equation given a special condition of a black hole, which has made him a hero.
* * *

Einstein wrote 30,000 letters and correspondences in his life.

One student in Japan sent to Einstein staying in Tokyo a letter with a certain question on physics; he then received a reply from the very person Einstein. In the return mail, with a letter paper of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, the student found only one equation: G = (8*pi*g / c**4)*T.

The student later became a very successful physical scientist in Japan and died in 1982. The letter was recently found by his bereaved family, which was reported last year in a nationwide newspaper.

When you use the name of Einstein in your conversation or joke, you had better remember that Einstein presented one of his best equations even to a nameless student in Tokyo in 1922.

(Why did Einstein accept invitation from Japan? It is because he had read a book written by Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), a U.S. reporter who had become a naturalized citizen of Japan.

Hearn, with an adopted Japanese name Yakumo Koizumi, especially loved a city famous in the Japanese myth. There was even a French girl who read Hearn’s book in, probably, Paris and took courage to travel to Japan and visit the city all alone in the time not so different from that of Einstein’s visit. )


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Putting Up With Globalization

Putting Up With Globalization

People in business in Japan know that there are three types of accounting rules: Japanese standard, American standard, and Global standard (IAS/IFRS).
Now, EU is actively pushing the Global standard on world communities, and America is expected to eventually adapt its standard to the Global standard, while Japan is busy studying the situations.
* * *

Mr. Joseph Stiglitz won Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001.

He wrote a book titled “Globalization and its Discontents” in 2002.

If somebody says immodestly that high-ranking officials of IMF and the World Bank travel around the world and stay in one of the most expensive hotels in a developing country to check statistics and other economic data provided by its government and decide how to deal with it, without going to industrial areas, markets, or residential areas where its poor citizens work and live, you may think such a man cannot be hired by any powerful, international monetary institution.

After having resigned, in 2000, from the World Bank where he had served as Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, Mr. Stiglitz wrote such a remark in his book in 2002, after 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

He candidly writes that globalization has failed; it has left too many poor people behind.

However, he pointed at one region in the world where globalization has really succeeded: East Asia.

I don’t think that his analysis in this regard is very correct.

Economic success in East Asia is due to influence of Japanese success in various fields rather than globalization.

Therefore, globalization has failed everywhere. But, so far, Japan could only overcome its negative effect.

If you look at the world map, everything is clear. Europe is responsible for Africa; America is responsible for Latin America, and Japan is responsible for East Asia. Middle East may claim economic support from both Europe and America.

But, globalization has failed in all the regions under hegemony of Europe and America. And, East Asia owes its economic success more to Japan in various ways than to globalization.

This is my impressions after checking the book “Globalization and its Discontents.”

You may have a very different view about it. But, such a sound and brave economist as Mr. Stiglitz sometimes cannot satisfy a Japanese reader.
* * *

A copy of a Japanese version of the book is sold at a net price of 1,800 yen.

But, I happened to find the other day that it was sold at 100 yen at a secondhand bookstore, as if implicating that there are many on the globe who live only on a dollar (100 cents) per day.

Globalization seems to be something that ordinary people in Japan never appreciate like those in developing countries.

What poor people in the world need is neither economic support decided by sinful people nor international organizations without respect to them.

It must be love and tribute paid to mankind by mankind in awe of God.