Friday, April 04, 2014

"I saw four and twenty elders sitting" - Japan as a Big Importer

Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo

Japan as a Big Importer

Due to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident of 2011, Japan had to change composition of its energy sources for electricity generation.  Their ratios in the whole energy sources changed as follows:

In Fiscal 2010
Natural Gas..................29.3%
Nuclear Energy............28.6%
Crude Oil........................7.5%

In Fiscal 2012
Natural Gas..................42.5%  
Crude Oil......................18.3%
Nuclear Energy............1.7%

In FY2012, a few nuclear power plants were operated, though in FY2013 all of them were halted after periodic inspection.

It is apparent that Japan urgently increased use of natural gas and crude oil for electricity generation to compensate a loss of outputs from nuclear power plants.  But, as Japan has to import almost all of natural gas and crude oil it consumes, balance of trade suddenly turned to be red.  Compared with import statistics before 2011, the amount Japan paid for natural gas and crude oil in 2013 increased by $30 billion.

However the increased import of gas and oil is not the only major factor for Japan's deficit in trade.  Due to a drastic change in industrial environments triggered by the 2011 Great Tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident, Japanese export decreased.  Further, with a policy change of the Bank of Japan, a huge amount of supplied yen caused a sharp drop of the value of yen against the US dollar, leading to an increase in imports.  Now the amount of a trade deficit in Japan reached $100 billion.

The following figure shows the trend of the balance of trade of Japan since 1980.  It shows that in 2011 Japan experienced the first trade deficit since 1980 when the second oil shock occurred due to political situations in the Middle East.

Trade Balance of Japan (Unit: trillion yen)

So, the 2011 Great Tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident really changed the economic landscape of Japan.  When industries of Japan were recovering steadily from the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, it was again hard hit by the great natural disaster and the half-man-made nuclear accident.  One of the most decisive factors is that Japanese manufacturers moved production to their factories and plants in foreign countries due to difficult domestic conditions.

Generally, the weak yen is favorable to promotion of export from Japan.  But, it doesn't seem to work in the current conditions.  Japan might be really turning to a big importer like the US.

*** *** *** ***

Rev 4:4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
Rev 4:5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
Rev 4:6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
Rev 4:7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
Rev 4:8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

"He left Judaea" - Fighters from Libya

Tokyo Scenes

Fighters from Libya

Recently 14 young Libyans decided to join the civil war in Syria.

However when they arrived at Syria, one of them started to do sightseeing casually.  So, they began to argue among themselves about their motivation and aspiration.  Then three of them returned to Libya.

Remaining eleven Libyans were engaged in battles as members of a nameless insurgent group.  They were fed by anti-government Syrian families.  There were also other foreign fighters from Tunisia, Egypt, etc.  Their group consisted of 60 members with mixed nationalities.  They decoyed soldiers of Syrian regular forces and attacked them.  But they ran away quickly before support arms of enemy forces came or their military planes started air raids.  The most well equipped group on the insurgent side was that associated with AlQaeda.  However, these Syrian fighters did not join AlQaeda as their religious code of conduct  looked so rigorous.

Among the 14 Libyans, three were killed in battles.  But they were relatively lucky, since another Libyan group consisting of 15 or so members was captured by Libyan Government troops to be executed.  Somebody betrayed them for money.

One of the Libyan fighters happened to be able to make a phone call to his home in Libya while he was stationed near the border to Turkey.  So, he decided to go back home.

This story was reported in a Japanese newspaper.  


*** *** *** ***

Joh 4:3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.
Joh 4:4 And he must needs go through Samaria.
Joh 4:5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
Joh 4:6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
Joh 4:7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

"he taught them many things by parables"

Around Tokyo Station

*** *** *** ***

Mar 4:2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
Mar 4:3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
Mar 4:4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
Mar 4:5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
Mar 4:6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

"Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness" - What Japanese Utilities Plan

What Japanese Utilities Plan

As all the nuclear reactors, roughly 50, are stopped in Japan in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident, major utilities in Japan have decided to introduce more thermal electric power plants.

Specifically, Tohoku Electric Power Co. plans to build a 1.2 million kWh plant; Chubu Electric Power Co. 1 million kWh plant; Kansai Electric Power Co. 1.5 million kWh; and Kyushu Electric Power Co. 1 million kWh.  As one nuclear reactor outputs 1 million kWh, each of these regional major utilities is to add a capacity of power production from a thermal plant which is equivalent to one nuclear reactor.  They will totally cover about 5 halted nuclear reactors.

As for Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the owner of Fukushima Daiichi, it is going to introduce thermal plants that can totally deliver 6 million kWh.  So, TEPCO alone can compensate a loss of six halted nuclear reactors, making the grand total 11 of covered nuclear reactors.

So, the Japanese industry is expected to be busy, receiving orders for construction of new power generation plants from the utilities.

But what if the US with 100 nuclear reactors running for electricity generation has decided to stop use of nuclear energy for supply of electricity to the public?

Can US stop using nuclear power?
9:51 PM, Mar. 18, 2011 
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, nuclear energy accounted for 806,968,000 megawatt hours of electricity in the U.S. in 2010. That was about 19.6 percent of the total. Natural gas account­ed for 23.8 percent, and coal was the 800-pound gorilla at 44.9 per­cent. All other sources totaled about 11.7 percent.

Simply put, we just can't dam enough rivers or generate enough renewable energy sources to make up such a gap for any number of years. Yes, we have dramatically im­proved our use of renewable en­ergy, at an annual average rate of 7.6 percent since 2000. Even so, at that rate, it would take until 2032 to generate the same amount of electricity, with all non-hydroelectric renewable sources, as nuclear did last year.

Who knows what our energy demands will be in a couple of decades? If our population in­creases the way it has for the past 20 years, I imagine we will consume more energy as op­posed to less.

As a result, you don't have to have an advanced degree from M.I.T. to come to the conclusion that to wean ourselves off nu­clear, we would have to con­sume more coal and natural gas for some time. The only prob­lem is there currently isn't enough domestic supply of ei­ther.

Sure, there is a lot of coal un­der the ground in the United States, as well as a lot of natural gas. However, we actually run a sizable trade deficit in natural gas, with Canada supplying most of our shortfall. As for coal, we are a net exporter of the stuff, but nowhere near large enough to accommodate such a spike in domestic de­mand. It would be years before we could get enough mines and rigs up to full production, as well as jump through all the necessary environmental hoops and red tape to make it happen.

In the meantime, what do you think would happen to the price of coal and natural gas? Yeah, they would go up, a lot, meaning the cost of generating electricity would go up a lot as well. Guess who gets to eat a chunk of those cost increases?

If every nuclear facility went off-line tomorrow, existing ca­pacity at other facilities could accommodate a good amount of the shortfall, but not quite all of it. As a result, utilities across the country would have to put up a number of new generators, and that requires a lot of time, red tape and money. Guess who gets to bear the brunt of those costs as well?

In the end, yes, we eventually could wean ourselves off nucle­ar power and not ever have to worry about what is happening in Japan happening here. How­ever, there would be repercus­sions, both environmental and in cost to the consumer, poten­tially significant ones.

As it stands right now, few politicians want to make those hard decisions.    
However, they should have second thought about their future in terms of safety and soundness of men and environments not only economic efficiency and profits.

*** *** *** ***

Mat 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
Mat 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
Mat 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Monday, March 31, 2014

"There came then his brethren and his mother" - Haneda and Narita

Cherry Blossoms around Tokyo Today

Haneda and Narita

In 1964, Tokyo hosted summer Olympic Games.  In this year the Japanese Government lifted a ban on Japanese citizens traveling abroad for sight seeing.

However, basically one Japanese citizen was allowed to go abroad only once per year.  They could bring to foreign countries only $500 or less with themselves.

In 1966, the restriction on the number of times for overseas traveling was abolished.  In 1970, the Boeing 747 was introduced into the Japanese air transportation.  Jumbo jets drastically increased the number of Japanese who made overseas trip, though only a little less than 500,000 Japanese went abroad in 1969.

In 1978, Narita International Airport was opened after big delay.  The number of Japanese flying abroad continued to increase without stagnation to 17 million in 1995.  Since then after some ups and downs, it finally reached 18,490,000 in 2012.

Originally, Tokyo started international air transportation from Haneda International Airport in 1931.  Haneda is situated in Ota Ward, Tokyo Prefecture.  It takes about 30 minutes by train, monorail, or bus or taxi from Tokyo Railroad Station to Haneda Airport.

But, since 1978, Narita Airport (with only one 4 km runway till 2002) has been positioned as the main international airport for Tokyo while Haneda has become a hub airport for domestic flights. For reference, it takes about one hour by train from Tokyo Station to Narita Airport located in Chiba Prefecture northeast of Tokyo. 

However, recently with expansion of Haneda airport, more and more international air carriers have come to use Haneda.  Accordingly, foreigners visiting Japan are split into Narita and Haneda.

        Number of Visiting Foreigners at Two Main Airports in 2013


Narita International Airport has a unique history.  In the aftermath of the anti-Vietnam War movement, Japanese leftist groups and students were violently against the opening of this new international airport in late 1960s and 1970s.  So, even today, anti-Narita Airport movement holds some plots within the area included in Narita Airport.  That is why Narita has still only one 4,000 meter runway in addition to one 2,500 meter runway.
Around 1966, a group of local residents combined with student activists and left-wing political parties formed a popular resistance group known as the Sanrizuka-Shibayama Union to Oppose the Airport, which remained active until fracturing in 1983.[7] Similar strategies had already been employed during the postwar era to block the expansion of Tachikawa Air Base and other US military facilities in Japan.[7] In June and July 1966, the Union sent formal protests to the mayor of Narita, the governor and vice-governor of Chiba Prefecture and the prefectural office of the Liberal Democratic Party.[7] In November 1967, when the Transport Ministry began surveying the perimeter of the airport, Union members set up roadblocks. The Zengakuren radical student union then began sending students to Narita to help the local farmers.[7] 
Eminent domain power had rarely been used in Japan up to that point. Traditionally, the Japanese government would offer to relocate homeowners in regions slated for expropriation, rather than condemn their property and pay compensation as provided by law. In the case of Narita Airport, this type of cooperative expropriation did not occur: some residents went as far as using terror by threatening to burn down new homes of anyone who would voluntarily move out.[citation needed] 
Under the 1966 plan, the airport would have been completed in 1971, but due to the ongoing resettlement disputes, not all of the land for the airport was available by then. Finally, in 1971, the Japanese government began forcibly expropriating land. 291 protesters were arrested and more than 1,000 police, villagers and student militants were injured in a series of riots, notably on September 16, 1971, when three policemen were killed in a riot involving thousands. Some protesters chained themselves to their homes and refused to leave.
So, for some old Japanese Narita is not an ear-pleasing name of a place.  However, if an inland earthquake occurs in or around Tokyo, Haneda Airport would be more damaged and dangerous.  You had better get in and leave Japan through other international airports than Narita or Haneda.

*** *** *** ***

Mar 3:31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
Mar 3:32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
Mar 3:33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
Mar 3:34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
Mar 3:35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

"He hath an unclean spirit" - Providence for the First Emperor of China

Cherry Blossoms this Rainy Evening around Tokyo

Providence for the First Emperor of China

In 219 BC, the First Emperor of China, namely the king of Qin, conducted a special ritual at the summit of Mt. Tai all alone in order to glorify his great success of unifying the whole China.
Mount Tai is one of the "Five Great Mountains". It is associated with sunrise, birth, and renewal, and is often regarded the foremost of the five. Mount Tai has been a place of worship for at least 3,000 years and served as one of the most important ceremonial centers of China[4] during large portions of this period. 
Religious worship of Mount Tai has a tradition dating back 3,000 years, from the time of the Shang (c. 1600–1046 bc) to the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912). Over time, this worship evolved into an official imperial rite and Mount Tai became one of the principal places where the emperor would pay homage to heaven (on the summit) and earth (at the foot of the mountain) in the Feng (Chinese: 封; pinyin: Fēng) and Shan (Chinese: 禪; pinyin: Shàn) sacrifices respectively.  
In 219 bc, Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, held a ceremony on the summit and proclaimed the unity of his empire in a well-known inscription. 
However at the time this ritual was to be conducted by the First Emperor for the first time in 500 years.  It was because China had been in the so-called Period of Warring States since the Zhou dynasty (c. 1046–256 BC) lost its ruling power and hegemony to exist only as a nominal court.  It is also said that before the First Emperor 72 kings had conducted the Feng Shan (Ho Zen in Japanese) ritual on the Mt. Tai.

As records and knowledge about how preceding kings had conducted Fen Shan were lost already, the Fist Emperor consulted Confucian scholars about what to do on the holy mountain.  But those scholars could not satisfy the Emperor.  So, it is said that he performed his own version of the holy ritual, praying to the heaven and the earth.  And what exactly he did was not recorded.

Anyway, his empire of Qin collapsed soon after his death.  The Emperor died in 210 BC and the Qin dynasty fell in 206 BC through fierce battles against insurgents.

Though kings and lords in China, including  the First Emperor, did not behave like a man of virtue who followed teaching of Confucius, Mencius, Lao-tze, and other ancient philosophers, they at least showed their respect for the great spirits of the heaven and the earth.    
According to Chinese myths, there ware the legendary Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors in the holy era of the past history before the first known kingdom was built.

Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Zhen described the Three Sovereigns were Heavenly Sovereign (天皇), Earthly Sovereign (地皇), Tai Sovereign (泰皇). The Chinese expression of emperor, huangdi (皇帝) was created by combining the word Sovereign (皇) and the word Great King (帝) by the First Emperor of Qin.  (This kanji expression of Emperor is pronounced Koutei in Japanese.)

And, Japan adopted the kanji expression of Heavenly Sovereign (天皇) to express the title of the Japanese emperor.  Nonetheless, it is pronounced Ten-no in Japanese but not Koutei.

Anyway the supreme political power both in China and Japan is originally linked to the concept of heaven and providence.  It might be akin to the God of Hebrews.

*** *** *** ***

Mar 3:28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
Mar 3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.
Mar 3:30 Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.